Article

Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 305-311

First online:

An ancient divergence among the bacteria

  • William E. BalchAffiliated withDepartments of Microbiology, University of Illinois
  • , Linda J. MagrumAffiliated withGenetics and Development, University of Illinois
  • , George E. FoxAffiliated withGenetics and Development, University of Illinois
  • , Ralph S. WolfeAffiliated withDepartments of Microbiology, University of Illinois
  • , Carl R. WoeseAffiliated withDepartments of Microbiology, University of IllinoisGenetics and Development, University of Illinois

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Summary

The 16S ribosomal RNAs from two species of methanogenic bacteria, the mesophileMethanobacterium ruminantium and the thermophileMethanobacterium thermoautotropbicum, have been characterized in terms of the oligonucleotides produced by digestion withT 1 ribonuclease. These two organisms are found to be sufficiently related that they can be considered members of the same genus or family. However, they bear only slight resemblance to “typical” Procaryotic genera; such asEschericbia, Bacillus andAnacystis. The divergence of the methanogeinc bacteria from other bacteria may be the most ancient phylogenetic event yet detected — antedating considerably the divergence of the blue green algal line for example, from the main bacterial line.

Key words

Comparative cataloging Methanogenic bacteria Phylogeny 16S ribosomal RNA Evolution