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Bacteria emit at rates much higher than scientists have ever expected Science | news



  Bacteria

BREAKTHROUGH: New research shows that bacteria disappear at higher rates (Photo: GETTY)

Between 45,000 and 95,000 bacterial species have disappeared in the past millions of years – in contravention of the widespread theory of dying rare (1

9659004) But despite the large numbers, bacteria remain resistant to mass extinctions that have hit larger organisms such as dinosaurs, researchers found.

Scientists used groundbreaking techniques to show that between 1.4 and 1.9 million bacterial lines are present.

They studied the mathematical structures found in DNA to create the first evolutionary tree for bacteria – and show the rate of extinction.

For over 3.5Gyr (3.5 billion years), the geochemical composition of our planet has been shaped by the evolution and diversification of bacteria

Dr. Stilianos Louca

Study Director Postdoctoral Fellow Stilianos Louca at the University of British Columbia said that studying the evolutionary and extinction patterns of bacteria can elucidate the "new ways" that simple organisms survive.

He stated, "For over 3.5Gyr (3.5 billion years), the geochemical composition of our planet has been shaped by the evolution and diversification of bacteria." Most importantly, the major oxygenation event occurred about 2 years ago.

, Was caused by cyanobacteria for 35 years and dramatically changed the surface environments of the Earth and the subsequent evolution of life.

"Despite the prominent role of bacteria in ancient and modern biospheres, little is known about the dynamics with which their diversity evolved over Earth's history."

He added, "Bacteria rarely petrify, so we know very well little about how the microbial landscape has evolved over time.

"Sequencing and math helped us fill the bacterial family tree, map how they have diversified over time, and expose their extinction.

"While Modern Bacteria Diversity is undoubtedly high, it is but a small part of the diversity that evolution has produced in the history of the earth."

Despite the frequent, steady extermination of individual species, they found that bacteria were exponentially diversified without interruption.

They avoid the abrupt, planet-wide mass extinctions that have occurred periodically in plants and animals.

Researchers suggest that competition between bacterial species drives the high rate of microbial death and makes them less susceptible to sudden mass extinction.

Former speciation, which is the formation of new species, and extinction events leave a complex trail in phylogenies – the mathematical structures that encode the evolutionary relationship between existing bacterial species.

Using powerful computers, scientists have studied this code to show how bacteria evolved and evolved.