Bacterial Evolution

Abstract

The Earth formed about 4600 million years ago and, 400–700 million years later, chemical evolution began, leading to living entities with metabolic pathways, catalysts, information storage molecules and, finally, membrane‐enclosed ‘organisms’. Evolution continued, with high levels of mutation and lateral gene transfer, to produce microbial anaerobic heterotrophs, autotrophs, lithotrophs, phototrophs (anoxygenic and later oxygenic) and, by 2200 million years ago, aerobes.

Keywords: bacteria; evolution; Precambrian; RNA world; Universal Ancestor

Figure 1.

Geological intervals during the first 4000 Myr of the Earth's history.

Figure 2.

Time scale of some major events in the early geological and biological evolution of the Earth.

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References

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Further Reading

Doolittle WF (2000) Uprooting the tree of life. Scientific American 282: 90–95.

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How to Cite close
Maniloff, Jack(Sep 2008) Bacterial Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000447.pub2]