Hemimistigotes have been assigned a whole new branch on the evolutionary tree of life. Smuthouse microbes are so unusual that…
Hemimistigotes have been assigned a whole new branch on the evolutionary tree of life. Smuthouse microbes are so unusual that they do not fit into any known realm of organisms. As a result, the microbes have been placed in their own new branch, which is an extremely rare event.
Hemimistigotes were observed until the 20th century, but they were never well studied. The new research, which investigated hemimastigote’s identity, showed that these microbes differ greatly from other eukaryotes – life-forms that have complex cells and a clearly defined core.
Hemispheres are about two hundredths of a millimeter tall and move with over a dozen hairs called flagellas. They are so different than observed before mushrooms and animals actually look closer together.
“They represent a big branch … which we did not know we were missing”, says study leader for writer and Dalhousie biology professor Alastair Simpson. “There is nothing we know that is closely related to them.”
Researchers report that the discovery was made by a team member investigating the microbial species found in the dirt. When examining a soil sample taken during a walk, she found unusual microbes. In fact, they were two different species of rarely observed hemimastigotes that had not yet been assigned a place on evolutionary family trees. Later, researchers could analyze hundreds more samples, giving a very clear understanding of the genetic makeup of the microbes.
When a new microbial species is identified and its genetic information is compared with other species, it has been placed in only existing kings. But researchers had to create a whole new branch on the evolutionary tree of life to place hemimastigotes in it.
“This discovery redraws our branch of” Tree of Life “at one of its deepest points, says Dr. Simpson.
” It is clear from our analysis that hemimastigotes did not belong to any known royal group or to a known “super group” “of several kings together, like the one containing both animals and fungi. This little collection of organisms is a whole new group at that level, all on its own. It is a branch of the Tree of Life that has been separated for a very long time, perhaps more than one billion years, and we had no information about it at all. “