Planetary Biology--Paleontological, Geological, and Molecular Histories of Life

  title={Planetary Biology--Paleontological, Geological, and Molecular Histories of Life},
  author={Steven A. Benner and M Daniel Caraco and J. M. Thomson and Eric A. Gaucher},
  pages={864 - 868}
The history of life on Earth is chronicled in the geological strata, the fossil record, and the genomes of contemporary organisms. When examined together, these records help identify metabolic and regulatory pathways, annotate protein sequences, and identify animal models to develop new drugs, among other features of scientific and biomedical interest. Together, planetary analysis of genome and proteome databases is providing an enhanced understanding of how life interacts with the biosphere… 

Molecular paleoscience: systems biology from the past.

The first 20 cases show how paleogenetics can lead to an understanding of the function of biomolecules, analyze changing function, and put meaning to genomic sequences, all in ways that are not possible with traditional molecular biological studies.

Setting the stage: the history, chemistry, and geobiology behind RNA.

No community-accepted scientific methods are available today to guide studies on what role RNA played in the origin and early evolution of life on Earth. Further, a definition-theory for life is

Resurrecting ancient genes: experimental analysis of extinct molecules

Ancient genes can now be reconstructed, expressed and functionally characterized, thanks to improved techniques for inferring and synthesizing ancestral sequences, and offers a powerful new way to empirically test hypotheses about the function of genes from the deep evolutionary past.

The planetary biology of cytochrome P450 aromatases

BackgroundJoining a model for the molecular evolution of a protein family to the paleontological and geological records (geobiology), and then to the chemical structures of substrates, products, and

7. Ancient Fossil Record and Early Evolution (ca. 3.8 to 0.5 Ga)

Once life appeared, it evolved and diversified. From primitive living entities, an evolutionary path of unknown duration, likely paralleled by the extinction of unsuccessful attempts, led to a last

Inferring the palaeoenvironment of ancient bacteria on the basis of resurrected proteins

This study resurrects candidate sequences for elongation factors of the Tu family found at ancient nodes in the bacterial evolutionary tree, and measures their activities as a function of temperature to suggest that the ancient bacteria that hosted these particular genes were thermophiles, and neither hyperthermophiles nor mesophiles.

The timing of eukaryotic evolution: does a relaxed molecular clock reconcile proteins and fossils?

It is shown that, according to 95% credibility intervals, the eukaryotic kingdoms diversified 950-1,259 million years ago (Mya), animals diverged from choanoflagellates 761-957 Mya, and the debated age of the split between protostomes and deuterostomes occurred 642-761 Mya.

Deep phylogeny--how a tree can help characterize early life on Earth.

The Darwinian concept of biological evolution assumes that life on Earth shares a common ancestor. The diversification of this common ancestor through speciation events and vertical transmission of

Earliest Photic Zone Niches Probed by Ancestral Microbial Rhodopsins

The results suggest that ancestral microbial rhodopsins likely acted as light-driven proton pumps and were spectrally tuned toward the absorption of green light, which would have enabled their hosts to occupy depths in a water column or biofilm where UV wavelengths were attenuated.



Molecular and Morphological Supertrees for Eutherian (Placental) Mammals

The authors' combined and separate supertrees largely support the same suprafamilial taxa and orders, but different interordinal clades, which reinforce the continuing contributions of morphological studies, while highlighting the growing influence of molecular information on the field.

Afrotheria: plate tectonics meets genomics.

  • S. Hedges
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2001
The recognition of Afrotheria splits apart other established groups of mammals, including ungulates and insectivores, yet it is the most strongly supported grouping of mammalian orders in molecular phylogenies.

A molecular timescale for vertebrate evolution

The clock-like accumulation of sequence differences in some genes provides an alternative method by which the mean divergence time can be estimated, and the molecular times agree with most early and late fossil-based times, but indicate major gaps in the Mesozoic fossil record.

Reconstructing the evolutionary history of the artiodactyl ribonuclease superfamily

This work suggests that contemporary artiodactyl digestive RNases arose from a non-digestive ancestor, and illustrates how evolutionary reconstructions can help in the understanding of physiological function within a protein family.

Episodic adaptive evolution of primate lysozymes

This approach can detect adaptive and purifying episodes, and localize them to specific lineages during protein evolution, and detect a previously unsuspected adaptive episode on the lineage leading to the common ancestor of the modern hominoid lysozymes.

The eocene-oligocene transition. Paraside lost

Trends, Rhythms, and Aberrations in Global Climate 65 Ma to Present

This work focuses primarily on the periodic and anomalous components of variability over the early portion of this era, as constrained by the latest generation of deep-sea isotope records.

Determining Divergence Times of the Major Kingdoms of Living Organisms with a Protein Clock

P phylogenetic analysis of the same sequences indicates that fungi and animals shared a common ancestor more recently than either did with plants, the greater difference resulting from the fungal lineage changing faster than the animal and plant lines over the last 965 million years.