Scientists May Have Uncovered the Secret to the Origin of Complex Life

While evolution provides us the answer of how we reached here, the very beginning of our journey has been baffling the scientists for generations. The answer of the most complex question regarding our origin might have been found in a research conducted by the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Planetology. A microbe called Thijs Ettema (named after a kingdom described in Norse mythology) seems to be the interesting link between the complex and the single celled organisms.

Though these microbes could not be found, their DNA was recently extracted from a fossil, encoding almost the entire DNA of the modern complex organisms which could be the very start of our existence. To understand the relevance of this discovery, one needs to  first understand the start of single celled organisms which are divided as bacteria and archaea. Eukaryotic cell or the simple multicellular organisms seem to have come from the compound of these two. The archaea forming protoplasm and bacteria amounted to the mitochondria.

Since the pioneering experiment by Uri Miller, several experiments have been conducted in primitive earth conditions to mimic the environment of those times. While there is intense debate about the eukaryotic history and the role of archaea, there is certainly a long way before we can come up with something conclusive. This new microbe, fondly called as Asgardian cell, opens up many avenues about the mysteries surrounding the origin of complex life.

While this new microbe seems to fit in the puzzle of our confusing ancestry, there are many more questions to answer which are about the existence of extraterrestrial life. However, looking at the pace of our research, we are not very far from finding answers.



Rajat Chakraborty Written by: