Symbionticism revisited: a discussion of the evolutionary impact of intracellular symbioses

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character
F J Taylor


Wallin (1927) first published the notion that the fusion of bacteria with host cells was the principal source of genetic novelty for speciation. He suggested that mitochondria are transitional elements in this process. While the significance that he attributed to symbiosis now seem excessive, he was one of the first authors to be aware of the evolutionary potential of symbiotic events and his view of mitochondria may not seem strange to many cell biologist today. The most significant evolutionary development which has been attributed to intracellular symbiosis is the origin of eukaryotic cellular organization. The current status of the 'serial endosymbiosis hypothesis' is briefly review. The case for the symbiotic origin of the chloroplast, based principally on 16 S RNA oligonucleotide cataloguing, is very strong. Mitochondrial origins are more obscure but also appear to be symbiotic due to recent 18 S cataloguing from wheat embryos. The probablility of the multiple origin of some eukaryotic organelles is also examined, the processes in question being the acquisition of distinct stocks of chloroplasts from disparate photosynthetic prokaryotes and the secondary donation of organelles from degenerate eukaryotic endosymbionts to t...Continue Reading


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