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Evolution of Photosynthesis

Summary: Evolution of
John F Allen, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK
Wim FJ Vermaas, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Photosynthesis is the conversion of radiant energy, as
light, into stored chemical energy. The central process is a
light-driven separation of electrical charge across a bio-
logical membrane. Photochemical reaction centres carry
out this process, and their three-dimensional protein
structures now indicate that all modern reaction centres
are homologous. Reaction centres with light-harvesting
complexes comprise photosynthetic units, two of which
are required for the oxygenic photosynthesis that now
dominates biological energy flow in the biosphere. The
evolutionary origin of oxygenic photosynthesis in cyano-
bacteria had a profound effect on the chemistry of the
Earth's atmosphere, on geology and on biology, paving
the way for the evolution of complex, multicellular life.
Eukaryotic plants and algae maintain the descendents of
cyanobacteria as specialised, subcellular, cytoplasmic


Source: Allen, John F. - School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London


Collections: Renewable Energy; Biology and Medicine