Consider this a matter of scrambling down the family tree to its roots.
Really old roots.
Or perhaps it’s more like blowing the dust off the family album – the human album – and opening to the first pages billions of years ago.
Naomi Ward, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Wyoming, is the senior author on a paper recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS).
The research examines how simple bacterial cells could have made the transition to more complex cells, leading to plants, animals and humans.
The paper, “Spatially segregated transcription and translation in cells of the endomembrane-containing bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus,” was published online this week, and describes research supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Ekaterina Gottshall, a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences Ph.D. program, is first author on the paper and main contributor to the experimental work. Other authors are assistant professor Jay Gatlin, also in molecular biology, and Corrine Seebart, an assistant research scientist in Ward’s group.
Ward’s version of genealogy looks at how simple bacterial cells, which do not have the nuclear membrane that separates transcription and translation (the reading of DNA instructions to make protein), could have evolved into eukaryotic cells (plants, animals, humans), which have transcription and translation occurring in separate locations.