Bacterial Origin of Luminescence in Marine Animals

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Science  13 Jun 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4449, pp. 1271-1273
DOI: 10.1126/science.208.4449.1271


Bacterial luciferase activity was detected in light organ extracts of squids, fishes, and pyrosomes, suggesting that these systems are derived from bacteria-animal symbioses. In none of these cases was it possible to culture luminouis bacteria. Analyses of the decay kinetics show that the luciferases from the squid, ceratioid, and pyrosome light organs are all similar to bacterial luciferases from the genus Photobacterium, while those from the anomalopid light organs are different.