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Archaea, a primal form of life?


To understand the role of tiny microorganisms in evolution, the microbiologists Christa Schleper and Filipa Sousa take a look at the metabolic pathways of the newly discovered archaea species.

"We are constantly discovering new lines of archaea that we have never known about, and we have a lot of finds and somebody has to get this group of data - we are hopeful," said Filipa Sousa Highly who has been working in a "Young Investigator" project of the WWTF. Together with the Archaea expert and ERC Advanced award winner Christa Schleper, the two researchers suspect that they have encountered a real "gold mine" for new discoveries: "Archaea is probably over 3.5 billion years old and is thus one of the first living beings to give us an idea of ​​the developement of metabolic pathways and complex forms of life," explains Schleper. Their thesis: The higher creatures, which developed much later, were a sort of chimera of archaea and bacteria. [read more]