New Study Proves that Bacteria Go Extinct

New Study Proves that Bacteria Go Extinct
SHARE

A new joint study elaborated by the University of British Columbia, Caltech, and Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory has proven that bacteria will go extinct at substantial rates although they avoid the mass extinction suffered by other species. This contradicts the previous belief that due to the massive population they are unable to die off except on rare occasions.

The study used big data analysis along with massive DNA sequences in order to create what was deemed to be the first evolutionary tree which centralizes a large part of the bacteria life on Earth.  Since bacteria do not tend to fossilize, very little was known until now about the evolution of bacteria over time. By mathematically analyzing the sequences, researchers were able to observe how bacteria evolved over time and why some disappeared.

It has been estimated that between 1.4 and 1.9 million bacterial lineages have survived until today, with about 45,000 to 95,000 extinction taking place in the last million years alone. According to one of the scientists, bacteria have changed radically during the years. Although certain species have gone extinct, bacteria has continuously evolved and adapted. They even managed to avoid the mass extinction faced by other species and have which have eliminated many animals and plants. It is suspected that the harsh competition between bacterial lineages allow them to evolve and resist many of the hazards.

10 years ago, the study would not have been possible since the technology and data collection was not as advanced as it is today.  The next goal of the researchers is to be able to determine the evolution of physiological features over time and see if the ecological diversity has increased in a similar manner to the taxonomic diversity.  If the theory is proven true, it would mean that bacteria can further evolve and survive.


SHARE

Share this post

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.