An ancient divergence among the bacteria

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Balch, W.E., Wolfe, R.S. (1976). Appl. Env. Microbiol.32, 781

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bellemare, G., Vigne, R., Jordan, B. (1973). Biochemie55, 29

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bishop, D.H.L., Claybrook, J.R., Spiegelman, S. (1967). J. Mol. Biol.26, 373

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bonen, L., Doolittle, W.F. (1976). Nature261, 669

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bryant, M.P., Robinson, I.M. (1961). J. Dairy Sci.44, 1446

    Google Scholar 

  6. Doolittle, W.F., Pace, N.R. (1971). Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA68, 1786

    Google Scholar 

  7. Drake, J.W. (1974). In 24th Symp. Soc. Gen. Microbiol., Cambridge University Press, London

    Google Scholar 

  8. Fellner, P., Sanger, F. (1968). Nature219, 236

    Google Scholar 

  9. Fox, G.E., Pechman, K.R., Woese, C.R. (1977). Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol27, 44

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gierer, A., Schramm, G. (1956). Nature177, 702

    Google Scholar 

  11. Lee, S. G., Evans, W.R. (1971). Science173, 241

    Google Scholar 

  12. Nomura, M., Traub, P., Bechmann, H. (1968). Nature219, 793

    Google Scholar 

  13. Pechman, K.J., Woese, C. (1972). J. Mol. Evol.1, 230

    Google Scholar 

  14. Sanger, F., Brownlee, G.G., Barrell, B.G. (1965). J. Mol. Biol.13, 373

    Google Scholar 

  15. Schopf, J.W. (1972). In Exobiology Vol. 23, Frontiers of Biology, North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam, London

    Google Scholar 

  16. Shine, J., Dalgarno, L. (1975). Eur. J. Biochem.57, 221

    Google Scholar 

  17. Sogin, S.J., Sogin, M.L., Woese, C.R. (1972). J. Mol. Evol.1, 173

    Google Scholar 

  18. Uchida, T., Bonen, L., Schaup, H.W., Lewis, B.J., Zablen, L., Woese, C. (1974). J. Mol. Evol.3, 63

    Google Scholar 

  19. Woese, C., Fox, G., Zablen, L., Uchida, T., Bonen, L., Pechman, K., Lewis, B.J., Stahl, D. (1975). Nature254, 83

    Google Scholar 

  20. Woese, C., Sogin, M., Stahl, D., Lewis, B.J., Bonen, L. (1976). J. Mol. Evol. 7, 197

    Google Scholar 

  21. Wolin, E.A., Wolin, M.J., Wolfe, R.S. (1963). J. Biol. Chem.238, 2882

    Google Scholar 

  22. Wrede, P., Erdmann, V.A. (1973) FEBS Lett.33, 315

    Google Scholar 

  23. Zeikus, J.G., Wolfe, R.S. (1972). J. Bacteriol.109, 707

    Google Scholar 

  24. Zuckerkandl, E., Pauling, L. (1965). J. Theoretical Biol.8, 357

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carl R. Woese.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Balch, W.E., Magrum, L.J., Fox, G.E. et al. An ancient divergence among the bacteria. J Mol Evol 9, 305–311 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01796092

Download citation

Key words

  • Comparative cataloging
  • Methanogenic bacteria
  • Phylogeny
  • 16S ribosomal RNA
  • Evolution