The Guardian panel of leading scientists picked the most significant discoveries and developments of the year 2016:
Number 6: Our last universal common ancestor gets a makeover
02.12.2016 Award | Sven B. Gould
The VolkswagenStiftung will support PD Dr. Sven B. Gould with 1.5 million Euro in the next five years under the initiative "Life – A fresh scientific approach to the basic principles of life".
This project is in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Julia Vorholt (ETH Zürich) and deals with the early steps of eukaryotic evolution, such as the origin of the nucleus or the role of mitochondria.
Project title: "Probing the prokaryote to eukaryote transition through synthetic evolution"
Reply to 'Is LUCA a thermophilic progenote?'
Nat. Microbiol. 1:16230 (2016)
William Martin talks about:
„Am Anfang war LUCA.
Genetische Rekonstruktion des letzten gemeinsamen Vorfahren aller heute lebenden Organismen“
Friday, November 18, 2016, 19:00 h
Auditorium at Haus der Wissenschaft, Pockelsstr. 11, 38106 Braunschweig
A natural barrier to lateral gene transfer from prokaryotes to eukaryotes revealed from genomes: The 70% rule.
BMC Biol. 14:89 (2016)
28.09.2016 Graduation | Chuan Ku
Chuan Ku successfully finished his doctorate with the thesis entitled
"On the prokaryotic origins of eukaryotic genes".
Cessa Rauch wins the Second Place of the 'Best Presentation Award for Young Scientists' at the 13th International Colloquium on Endocytobiology and Symbiosis (ICES), September 10–14 2016, Kyoto (Japan).
Launch of the book "Erste Erde. Epos." by Raoul Schrott with reading and discussions, among others with William Martin, about the origin of the Earth and the early evolution at the Poetenfest in Erlangen, Germany.
Raoul Schrott. Erste Erde. Epos. Hanser Verlag. München. 26. September 2016.
DER SPIEGEL, a German weekly news magazine, interviewed William Martin about Luca, the last universal common ancestor (Nature Microbiology, July 2016):
Das Leben entstand nur einmal
Dr. Adam Rutherford interviewed William Martin about his article published in Nature Microbiology, July 2016, on BBC Radio 4, a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in the science program "Inside Science":
Last Common Ancestor
The TIME Magazine, an American weekly news magazine, published an article about William Martin's latest paper in Nature Microbiology:
What a 4-billion-year-old organism says about life in space
Verena Kauzleben reported about William Martin's article published in Nature Microbiology, July 2016, on WDR 5, a radio channel produced by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), a public broadcasting company in Germany, in the science program "Leonardo":
Frühe Lebewesen liebten es heiß
Overview of attention for William Martin's article published in Nature Microbiology, July 2016.
The Washington Post, an American daily newspaper, published an article about William Martin's latest paper in Nature Microbiology:
Was this ancient organism the first life on Earth, or just the luckiest?
WDR, a German public-broadcasting institution, broadcasted a video about William Martin's article published in Nature Microbiology, July 2016, in "Lokalzeit Düsseldorf":
Weltsensation aus Düsseldorf: Forscher entdecken "Urform des Lebens"
The physiology and habitat of the last universal common ancestor
Nat. Microbiol. 1:16116 (2016)
William Martin posted a nice text in the "Behind the paper" section on the Nature Microbiology Community website:
How and where did the very first cells on Earth make a living? – Genomes uncover evidence for the physiology of LUCA
22.07.2016 Graduation | Jan de Vries
Jan de Vries successfully finished his doctorate with the thesis entitled "Of robust kleptoplasts and versatile embryoplasts".
An interview with Bill Martin, whose interests are endosymbiosis, early evolution, and the origin of life.
Curr. Biol. 13:R515–R517 (2016)
Mitochondria, the cell cycle, and the origin of sex via a syncytial eukaryote common ancestor
Genome Biol. Evol. 8:1950–1970 (2016)
Energy for two: New archaeal lineages and the origin of mitochondria
Movie of the origin of life-theory developed by M.J. Russell and W.F. Martin
Movie of the symbiotic origin of eukaryotes-theory developed by W.F. Martin.
Sriram Garg wins the poster prize at the Gordon Research Seminar Mitochondria & Chloroplasts, Endosymbiotic Organelles: Biogenesis, Homeostasis, and Integration, June 18–19 2016, Mount Snow, West Dover, Vermont (USA).
Title: Role of charge in organelle protein targeting evolution
The Trends in Microbiology cover image (Volume 24, Issue 7, 2016) depicts how endosymbiosis could have occurred with an alphaproteobacterium becoming engulfed by an ancient archaeon, forming the first eukaryotic endomembrane system. On pages 525–534, we propose that the origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system was from bacterial outer membrane vesicles. Cover image and design by Debbie Maizels/Zoobotanica Scientific Illustration.
This is a video abstract of our paper "Bacterial vesicle secretion and the evolutionary origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system" in Trends in Microbiology (24:525–534, 2016) where we propose that the eukaryotic endomembrane system originated from bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) released by the mitochondrial ancestor within the cytosol of its archaeal host at eukaryote origin. Confined within the host's cytosol, OMVs accumulated naturally, fusing either with each other or with the host's plasma membrane. This matched the host's archaeal secretory pathway for cotranslational protein insertion with outward bound mitochondrial-derived vesicles consisting of bacterial lipids, forging a primordial, secretory endoplasmic reticulum as the cornerstone of the eukaryotic endomembrane system.
The Trends in Plant Science cover image (Volume 21, Issue 6, 2016) depicts the terrestrialization by fresh-water algae. Key steps in evolution are often singularities. The emergence of land plants is one such case and it is not immediately apparent why. A recent analysis found the zygnematophycean algae to represent the closest relative to embryophytes. Intriguingly, many exaptations thought essential to conquer land are common among various streptophytes, but zygnematophycean algae share with land plants the transfer of a few plastid genes to the nucleus. On pages 467–476 Sven B. Gould and colleagues discuss how the streptophyte chloroplast evolved into what we refer to as the embryoplast, and argue this was as important for terrestrialization by fresh-water algae as the host cell-associated exaptations that are most often focused on. Cover image created by Sven B. Gould with support from Debbie Maizels.
Welt am Sonntag (German for World on Sunday), a German Sunday newspaper, published an article about Bill Martin and his research on the origin of life.
Dr. Shijulal Nelson-Sathi is this year's winner of the € 10,000 Karl-Arnold-Prize of the Northrhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.
Rheinische Post, a major German regional daily newspaper, published an article about Shijulal Nelson-Sathi, his research on prokaryotic genomes and the Karl-Arnold-Prize awarded to him.