Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 1–6

The concept of cellular evolution

  • Carl R. Woese
  • George E. Fox

DOI: 10.1007/BF01796132

Cite this article as:
Woese, C.R. & Fox, G.E. J Mol Evol (1977) 10: 1. doi:10.1007/BF01796132


A central evolutionary question is whether the eucaryotic cytoplasm represents a line of descent that is separate from the typical bacterial line. It is argued on the basis of differences between their respective translation mechanisms that the two lines do represent separate phylogenetic trees in the sense that each line of descent independently evolved to a level of organization that could be called procaryotic. The two lines of descent, nevertheless shared a common ancestor, that was far simpler than the procaryote. This primitive entity is called a progenote, to recognize the possibility that it had not yet completed evolving the link between genotype and phenotype. This concept changes considerably the view one takes toward cellular evolution.

Key words


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl R. Woese
    • 1
  • George E. Fox
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics and DevelopmentUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA