JAN 12, 2016 9:39 AM PST

Researchers Investigate the Mutation that Led to Multi-Cell Life on Earth

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

All multi-cellular life may be the result of a genetic accident that happened more than 600-million years ago, according to a study published in the Journal eLife. Just a mutation that happened to occur at the right place and the right time.
 

Single-cell life evolved into multi-cell life by way of genetic mutation.


All life on Earth began in the single-cellular state, life was once simple. Life used the ancient state of the Earth’s atmosphere, the moisture, and the Sun to essentially pull its own weight.
 
But then something happened – a genetic mutation in the proteins of the DNA of these single-cell life forms would change the course of life forever, creating the world’s first multi-cellular organism, and keeping the torch going to create what we have today.
 
Early single-cell life would adapt to survive in the ever-changing conditions of our young planet. This single-celled life would then learn specialized roles, and these single-cell life forms that were given specialized roles would then adapt to work together, forming complex bonds where each relied on one another to survive.
 
These complex bonds are what would lay down the foundation for multi-cellular life.
 
The study, which was led by University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda, involved figuring out which gene mutation it was that caused this to happen. They studied microscopic spongy organisms known as choanoflagellates, which are found in the Ocean.
 
The team created computer models of the genes of the descendants of these choanoflagellates based off of the modern gene sequences using a technique that involved 'going back in time' to see an earlier date of the DNA makeup. It was found that proteins in the DNA were re-purposed for new functions early on and that this led to the changes in life that we have today.
 
“Our work suggests that new protein functions can evolve with a very small number of mutations,” Prehoda said in statement. “In this case, only one was required.”
 
The findings revealed that a gene used in making up the tail of the creature paved the way for giving cells the ability to function together and ultimately help in forming multi-cellular life that we know today.
 
It’s noted that although this step in genetic mutation probably played a big role in creating the life we have today, it’s not the only reason we’re here today.

Source: eLife

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Researchers describe a new rule for why fish swim in schools
NOV 05, 2020
Researchers describe a new rule for why fish swim in schools
A study published in Nature Communications highlights a new explanation of how fish swim in schools, a technique they us ...
NOV 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The first ever global bee diversity map
NOV 21, 2020
The first ever global bee diversity map
A study reported in the journal Current Biology showcases the first global map of bee diversity. Designed by a coll ...
DEC 17, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Using Tomatoes to Produce a Parkinson's Drug
DEC 17, 2020
Using Tomatoes to Produce a Parkinson's Drug
More and more people are being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease as the world's population ages. Scientists have now en ...
DEC 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
Could CBD be a food preservative?
DEC 31, 2020
Could CBD be a food preservative?
CBD (cannbidiol) oil from has many claims made for it — and now lengthening the shelf life of fresh fruit could fe ...
JAN 21, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Practical Reason Why Cats Love Catnip
JAN 21, 2021
A Practical Reason Why Cats Love Catnip
Cats love catnip and silver vine; the cat-attracting plants are treats that make cats excited and happy. Big cats also f ...
FEB 09, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Scientists Spotlight Dangers of Ocean Noise Pollution
FEB 09, 2021
Scientists Spotlight Dangers of Ocean Noise Pollution
Many ocean species use sound to communicate and survive. Sound is a crucial communication method since vision is limited ...
Loading Comments...