Leading researchers in the biological community hold that the inner
chemistry/DNA of the Archae points to it being the closest in
relation to the "progenate".
Simply by the distances of parts of the make up of the cell to each
other. This is the stuff that showed OJ WAS BLEEDING next to Nicole.
BUT, that some of the Archae do not have ATP as the energy exchange
unit throughout the cell. ALTHOUGH methanogens DO use ATP AND all
other non-Archae live uses ATP. SO, the question becomes why the
common metabolic dynamic?
Up to the point where methanogens evolved Gaia, I POSTULATE, they
existed in a much more chaotic behaving chemical and heat exchanging
world. Read--extremes. That is why these Archae--also known as
extremophiles, or extreme existing creatures, evolved membranes that
were able to take extreme ecological conditions. In their case,
before chemistry and temperature were modulated by their own
existance, the extremes places on earth counterintuitively offered
more chemical and heat dynamic stability. For instance, there is a
discussion of Archae in thermosynthesis theory:
What is thermosynthesis ?
The basic tenet of Anthonie Muller's personal thermosynthesis (TS)
theory is that thermal cycling and thermal gradients yielded the
scaffolding for the origin and evolution of life.
Convection can cause the thermal cycling required for
thermosynthesis: the content of a convection cell is continuously
thermally cycled. In the volcanic hot spring covered with ice shown,
convection must in particular be intense because of the large
temperature difference between the top and the bottom.
As it yields the required simple energy source, thermosynthesis (TS)
considerably simplifies the problem of the origin of life. Moreover,
the emergence of the contemporary biological energy conversion
machinery is easily modelled.
Many basic physiological phenomena invoke thermal - or light -
cycling: cell division, germination, flowering, budding, heat shock.
This thermoperiodism and photoperiodism may be relics from
In many niches organisms or parts of organisms are thermally cycled:
Archaebacteria in convecting volcanic hot springs, organisms
vertically migrating through thermoclines in natural waters,
chloroplasts and mitochondria in the protoplasm stream within leaf
cells. TS may play a role here.
Biochemical regulatory mechanisms such as regulation by protein
phosphorylation or by the Ca2+ ion can be interpreted as methods for
mimicking thermal cycling that were acquired later in evolution
during the transition from living at a fluctuating temperature to
living at a constant temperature.
On biological heat engines
In thermosynthesis an organism, more specifically, some of its
enzymes or its membranes, functions essentially as a heat engine. At
a first glance the proposed similarity between heat engines such as
the steam engine and biochemical objects may seem farfetched. A
simple analogy may help:
In the steam engine water is thermally cycled: liquid water is heated
in a boiler, and evaporates, turns into steam - a phase transition;
the expanding steam performs external work; in the condensor the
steam turns again into liquid water, the reverse phase transition.
In the two thermosynthesis mechanisms a protein or a membrane is
similarly thermally cycled, and undergoes a phase transition-like
process as well (to an unfolded respectively more fluid state). The
external work is done during the release of the synthesized ATP.
In a steam engine the product, work that is done, is obtained at the
outside of the system, while in thermosynthesis the product is formed
within the system where ADP and phosphate are 'pushed together' to
form the ATP that is later released. This difference in topology is
however not important.[unquote]
Now, here is the kicker. This idea of membrane biochemistry and ATP
exchanges is but one solution to an internal problem for the cells--
how to regulate its chemistry and provide energy to do this. This was
a complex evolutionary response to extreme ecological conditions when
it first evolved. YET, since Archae evolved, they have NOT evolved
any other significant complexity. You can argue about whether this
lack of evolution was micro or macro or millions or billions of years
until the cows come home--it doesn't change the existing genetics of
the Archae compared to all other life. In short, the Archae stopped
evolving anything complex about themselves except for metabolic
things that have more to do with the symbiotic relationships I am
about to discuss.
Other life forms HAVE had to evolve more complex genetics. YET, this
complexity is NEVER away from the basic metabolic chemistry of Gaia--
BECAUSE without that metabolic chemistry there is no longer a
symbiotic relationship with methanogens to provide for regulation of
GLOBAL biological conditions. In short, life after Archae evolved
within the context of a biologically regulated climate and chemistry.
This context also further defined the metabolic limitations of the
genetics of creatures which evolved in their ATP processes ability
with photosyntheses to turn energy from the sun into ATP. That is
because in order for this to occur within the symbiotic parameters as
defined by Gaia these creatures had to be connected, via hydrology,
to the methanogens. Therefore, if plants were to evolve a nervous
system, it would have lead to mobility toward there survival as a
individual creature that was not supportive of the whole community,
and, these branch would not have found the hydrology to survive.
Still more complex creatures have evolved nervous systems, but yet
even these creatures remain metabolically defined by the modulation
of a living earth.
See tree at end of article.
Since many archaea are also hyperthermophiles and may be the most
ancient life-forms on the planet, the investigators speculate that
the archaea gave genes to A. aeolicus rather than the other way
around. Moreover, suggests Koonin, those genes may have endowed A.
aeolicus with its ability to thrive at high temperatures. . .
Although the pace of gene transfer today impresses scientists, it may
pale compared with the gene swapping that went on in life's earliest
days. Carl Woese of the University of Illinois, who first argued that
archaea deserved a separate branch on the evolutionary tree, has
proposed that the first forms of life on Earth were simple cells
progenotes, Woese dubs themthat engaged in unusually rampant gene
"The primitive lateral gene transfer envisioned is very unlike that
seen today," he wrote in a 1998 article. "The high frequency of
lateral transfer reflected the simplicity of the progenote's genetic
mechanisms and the lack of barriers to lateral exchange."
If so, early life may have essentially had a communal genome rather
than a fixed one for each cell. Indeed, this gene sharing may have
encouraged the rapid evolution of life.
"The fact that innovations could easily spread through the population
by lateral transfer gave the progenote community enormous
evolutionary potential," says Woese. How's that for a lesson on the
importance of sharing?" [unquote]
Lateral gene sharing and determination of what is the "root" actually
points toward something that forced non-complexity in the genes of
Archae--rather than retaining this ability to obtain genetics from
other sources. Again--away from complexity. That points to a living
earth that found its modulation of chemistry and temperature from the
Why don't plants have brains?
Methane is the electron receiptor for methanogens, and so is correct
in that is what ultimately is symbiotic--that it requires carbon
based metabolism. I was thinking of a more complex explaination using
as the common metabolic medium ATP. It turns out that when the Archae
evolved and so did Gaia that Gaia defined the course of Archae
evolution thereafter, but also defined the other super groups to stay
within the metabolic parameters of the methanogens--to do otherwise
was to become outside of the feedbacks of hydrology, UV protecting
clouds, and chemistry that the hydrology brought.
"ATP is the energy currency of most living systems on earth (all
higher organisms, but not some archae (three branches of life:
archae, eubacteria (prokaryotes), eukaryotes)).
ATP + H2O ® ADP + H3PO4 (Pi = "inorganic phosphate") DGo = -30.6
It is this large free energy which is coupled to various other
reactions to drive the myriad of energy-requiring processes in life."
Turns out methanogens make ATP unlike some of the Archae.
Plants simply evolved a way to take the sun's energy and make ATP--
but if plants were to evolve another metabolic pathway they would
lost the hydrology. If they evolved a nervous system, they would
evolve complexity to MOVE, and hence leave the hydrology, and again,
perish. Or lose the temperatures required for life. Or the chemistry
from the hydrology. Or the tectonic changes that recycled ATP based