In defence of the three-domains of life paradigm
BMC Evolutionary Biology , Volume 17 p. 218
Background: Recently, important discoveries regarding the archaeon that functioned as the “host” in the merger with a bacterium that led to the eukaryotes, its “complex” nature, and its phylogenetic relationship to eukaryotes, have been reported. Based on these new insights proposals have been put forward to get rid of the three-domain Model of life, and replace it with a two-domain model. Results: We present arguments (both regarding timing, complexity, and chemical nature of specific evolutionary processes, as well as regarding genetic structure) to resist such proposals. The three-domain Model represents an accurate description of the differences at the most fundamental level of living organisms, as the eukaryotic lineage that arose from this unique merging event is distinct from both Archaea and Bacteria in a myriad of crucial ways. Conclusions: We maintain that “a natural system of organisms”, as proposed when the three-domain Model of life was introduced, should not be revised when considering the recent discoveries, however exciting they may be.