A Bioenergetic Basis for the Three Domains of Life

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
Organiser: events@linnean.org
+44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 211

EVENING MEETING 18:00–19:00 Thursday 15 March 2018

Image © Odra Noel

The deep differences between the three domains of life are puzzling. Bacteria and archaea are almost indistinguishable in size and morphology, but distinct in genes and metabolism. Eukaryotes are limited in metabolic diversity, but explore morphological space. 

Genetic divergence alone cannot explain the evolution of morphological complexity, as bacteria and archaea evolved nothing resembling the complexity of eukaryotes over 4 billion years of evolution. Eukaryotes arose in a singular endosymbiosis between prokaryotes. The differences between bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes are attributable not to selection operating on populations of cells, but to structural constraints imposed by membrane bioenergetics, released through endosymbiosis. 

Professor Nick Lane FLS is at University College London. His research looks at the way that energy flow has shaped evolution, from the origin of life to the evolution of morphological complexity. He is Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution (CLOE), and has published four celebrated books on energy and evolution. His work was recognised by the 2015 Biochemical Society Award and the 2016 Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Registration is essential. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Doors will open at 17:30.
  • Tea will be served in the Library from 17:30 and the event will be followed by a wine reception.

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