Three-domain system

1999 Three-domain system

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Carl Woese, George E. Fox cell biology

Three-domain system


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Before we discovered archaea, we thought we had only prokaryotes (bacteria) and eukaryotes (protists, plants, fungi, and animals). At first, we thought archaea were kinds of bacteria; however, Woese found large differences among archaea, bacteria, and eukarya in ribosomal RNA structures, which are essential to all life and known to be stable on evolutionary time scales.

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