Science Friday Archives: Prochlorococcus

Science Friday Archives: Prochlorococcus:

Just over twenty years ago, researchers discovered a photosynthetic marine microorganism now known as Prochlorococcus. Though each individual organism is very small, only 0.6 µm, it turns out that Prochlorococcus is one of the most abundant organisms on the planet — a single milliliter of water can contain 100,000 cells or more. It also has a big effect on the rest of the world, as this one organism is thought to account for as much as half of the photosynthesis in the oceans. In this segment, guest host Joe Palca talks with Penny Chisholm, a biologist at MIT who first reported the discovery of the tiny organism…

Here is my question for the scientists out there:

I learned way back in High School biology (and in late night dorm discussions) that there was a theory that Chloroplasts, the organelles (cell parts) that are responsible for photosynthesis, may have been co-opted by early plants. Is there a similarity between Prochlorococcus and chloroplasts?

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5 thoughts on “Science Friday Archives: Prochlorococcus

  1. That’s the endosymbiotic theory. Given how chloroplasts are structured and such, most eukaryotic chloroplasts are believied to have come from cyanobacteria, of which prochlorococcus is a part.

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