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A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan has succeeded in cultivating samples of Lokiarchaea in a special tank in their lab. They have published a paper describing their work on the bioRxiv preprint server as they await publication.
The tree that represents all known living things has three main branches: eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea. The first branch includes existing organisms, including humans; the second comprises familiar microbes—but archaea are less well-known. They, too, are microbes, and resemble bacteria, but are actually different. In recent years, some scientists have suggested that eukaryotes evolved through interactions between archaea and bacteria. Some have taken a further step and suggested that a certain kind of archaea, Asgard archaea, may have been that which interacted with bacteria, resulting in the first eukaryotes. Such theories emerged after researchers subjected samples of mud from the deep ocean to DNA analysis—the results showed evidence of both archaea and eukaryote-like genomes. The samples were given the name Lokiarchaea, because they were uncovered from an area close to Loki's Castle, a deep-sea hydrothermal vent. These theories...
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