The last universal common ancestor between ancient Earth chemistry and the onset of genetics

Madeline C. Weiss, Martina Preiner, Joana C. Xavier, Verena Zimorski, William F. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

26 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

All known life forms trace back to a last universal common ancestor (LUCA) that witnessed the onset of Darwinian evolution. One can ask questions about LUCA in various ways, the most common way being to look for traits that are common to all cells, like ribosomes or the genetic code. With the availability of genomes, we can, however, also ask what genes are ancient by virtue of their phylogeny rather than by virtue of being universal. That approach, undertaken recently, leads to a different view of LUCA than we have had in the past, one that fits well with the harsh geochemical setting of early Earth and resembles the biology of prokaryotes that today inhabit the Earth's crust.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007518
JournalPLoS Genetics
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

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