Introduction to special issue

Microbial Biology: Tracing the Mother of All Cells

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 700
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.700

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text


By sketching the first complete family tree of the microbes, evolutionist Carl Woese allowed researchers to search for organisms near its base--close to the ancestral one-celled form. Many of these organisms are Archaea that thrive in extreme environments. Their features suggest that the first organisms may have been born in boiling sulfurous pools or hot, mineral-laden deep-sea volcanic vents.