The traditional tree of life (shown above) presents the three domains as distinct, monophyletic lineages. However, other hypotheses propose different views on the relationships among the Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. In particular, the two-domain hypothesis—or eocyte hypothesis—is emerging as a well-supported alternative to the three-domain hypothesis. The eocyte hypothesis, illustrated below, suggests that eukaryotes evolved from eocytes (also known as the Crenarchaeota—a major lineage of the Archaea). Resolving the relationships among these ancient lineages is difficult, but it has profound implications on our understanding of the origin of eukaryotic cells.
The Bacteria and Archaea both include microscopic prokaryotes that lack membrane-bound nuclei. What criteria have led to the classification of these two groups as separate domains?
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Master Prokaryotic Cell Structures 1 with a bite sized video explanation from Jason Amores Sumpter