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One-celled life possessed tools for going multicellular
Scaling up from one cell to many may have been a small step rather than a giant leap for early life on Earth. …
“Animals are regarded as this very special branch, as in, there had to be so many innovations to be an animal,” says David Booth, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley who wasn’t part of the study. But this research shows “a lot of the machinery was there millions of years before animals evolved.”
...That parallels what’s seen in animals: Proteins in different organs within the same animal show similar modification differences.
The researchers also found changes in the molecules that control the protein modification process. ...
…the earliest animals were probably “recycling mechanisms that were already present before,” says study coauthor Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo, a biologist at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona.
...the perceived chasm between a simple single-celled existence and a complex multicellular one might not have required a flying leap to cross. “This gap,” Sabidó says, “maybe isn’t such a gap.”