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Clues to the evolution of photosynthesis

ir mechanism of capturing carbon dioxide differs from that of plants and other bacteria. The green-sulfur bacteria use an unusual chemical cycle called the reductive tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle that differs from the Calvin Cycle that is used by higher plants. The TCA cycle uses electrons derived from hydrogen or reduced sulfur compounds to fix carbon dioxide; in contrast, the Calvin Cycle requires oxygen. In fact, the reductive TCA cycle was first discovered in C. tepidum.

The authors of the paper write that "further genome analysis and experimental work should help provide insights into the evolution of photosynthesis and other pathways of energy metabolism." Scientists have developed methods to genetically manipulate C. tepidum, allowing experimental testing of hypotheses generated from the analysis of the microbe's genome. Also, the completion of a genome sequence makes experimental studies easier and less expensive.

Said Eisen: "We hope that this genome sequence will serve as a launching pad for future studies of the evolution and mechanisms of photosynthesis and the biology of this important group of organisms."


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Contact: Jonathan Eisen
jeisen@tigr.org
301-838-3507
The Institute for Genomic Research
1-Jul-2002


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