Scientists change the paradigm of biology by discovering a structure that was thought not to exist in living organisms – Enséñame de Ciencia

One of the basic characteristics taken into account in order to divide the different life forms is the differences in the basic anatomical unit of all living things, the cell.

According to these characteristics, living organisms can be divided into two main groups: eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

The main difference between eukaryotic cells and prokaryotic cells is that the first type of cell has a nucleus (where cells store their DNA, which is their genetic material and is surrounded by a membrane) and the second does not have a nucleus; At least that was what he thought and taught so far.

A team of scientists from the UNAM Faculty of Science (FC), the Institute of Biology (IB-UNAM) and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have released the important findings of a six-year investigation. This led them to discover and describe the presence of the nucleus in archaea, a group of prokaryotic cells, which would revolutionize the world of cells as we know it.

The origin of this discovery goes back to the doctoral thesis research conducted by Parcival Islas Morales, under the supervision of Dr. Luis Felipe Jiménez García from the Laboratory of Cellular Nanobiology of the University of FC. The result of the kernel search was published in Important magazine Scientific frontiers in microbiology.

“The discovery breaks the paradigm. The nucleus in prokaryotes? It may seem crazy at first, and seem unusual, but it has a logic and foundation that emerges throughout the project. However, it is still surprising that we can say that; The nucleus as a structure characteristic of the eukaryotic nucleus and now leaves that group and is found in another group; “This opens up many research possibilities,” says Dr. Luis Felipe Jiménez, who is internationally recognized for his contributions to cell biology and microscopy.

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The results of this research completely change the way living organisms divide, and this scientific contribution is considered a qualitative leap in biology, that is, in the division that has existed for more than 100 years between eukaryotic cells (with a nucleus). nucleus).

to an agreement With Parsifal Islas (who received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine), UNAM, “This has two important implications for our understanding of life on Earth: the first is that the nucleus may be older than the cell nucleus itself; the nucleus was already present in Archaea probably had their origin and early evolution in the common ancestor of archaea and eukaryotes.The second major contribution is that the discovery is not the result of a stumble or chance, but rather the result of a new methodology in evolutionary cell biology developed by the team.

In terms of relatedness, this discovery opens a new line of research that could link phylogenetically speaking humans to archaea, as there is a shared personality at the cellular level.

For more information consult: Frontiers in Microbiology.

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