.One pursuit of scientists in the field of biology is determining the common inheritance of all living things. Many problems exist in this pursuit. Among them are the following, according to Alberts et al.:
These three factors amongst others compromise scientists’ ability to determine the common inheritance of all living things. In fact, two of the major factors of evolution for prokaryotes are lineage-specific gene loss and horizontal gene transfer (Alberts et al. 2014).
Because of the many difficulties associated with the enterprise of determining the common inheritance of all living things, scientists have concluded that it appears that only a small proportion of ancestral gene families has been retained universally in a form that is recognizable. Specifically, only 63 gene families appear to be truly universal (represented in all of the genomes analyzed) out of 4,873 protein-coding gene families in which the genomes of 50 species of bacteria, 13 archaea, and 3 unicellular eukaryotes were compared. The universal families noted here were involved in translation and transcription systems, primarily (Alberts et al. 2014).
However, a broader view holds that an ancestral gene set can be better approximated by looking at the gene families that have representatives in multiple different species from all three major domains, but not necessarily in all species of all domains. When looking at things this way, there are 264 ancient conserved families. Scientists have been able to assign each family a function in terms of general biochemical activity. Scientists have discovered, through this, that the largest number of shared gene families are involved in translation and in amino acid metabolism and transport (Alberts et al. 2014).
Bear in mind, with all of this, that all of this information merely comprises a rough sketch of the common inheritance of all modern life. By no means is all of this precise. Hopefully, with advancements in biological technologies and techniques for examination, a more concrete view of this topic can be constructed with time (Alberts et al. 2014).
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