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The evolution of photosynthesis and chloroplasts

Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 1466-1474
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Current Science
Volym: 96
Nummer: 11
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Current Science


This review focuses on what has been learned about the

evolution of photosynthesis in the past five years, and

omits evolution of CO2 assimilation. Oxygenic photosynthesis

(using both photosystems I and II) has evolved

from anoxygenic photosynthesis. The latter occurs in

different variants, using either a type 1 photosystem

resembling photosystem I, or a type 2 photosystem resembling

photosystem II. Opinions differ as to how

two types of photosystem came to be combined in the

same organism, whether by gene transfer between bacteria,

by fusion of bacteria, or as a result of gene duplication

and evolution within one kind of bacterium.

There are also different opinions about when oxygenic

photosynthesis arose, in conjunction with the Great

Oxygenation Event, 2.3 billion years before the present,

or more than a billion years before that.

Cyanobacteria were the first organisms to carry out

oxygenic photosynthesis. Some of them gave rise to

chloroplasts, while others continued to evolve as independent

organisms, and the review outlines both lines

of evolution. At the end we consider the evolution of

photosynthesis in relation to the evolution of our planet.


  • Biological Sciences
  • chloroplast
  • cyanobacteria
  • horizontal gene transfer
  • red algae.
  • bacteriochlorophyll
  • bacteria


  • Photobiology
  • Photobiology-lup-obsolete
  • ISSN: 0011-3891

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