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The Discovery of Photosynthesis

That hypothesis contradicts one of the widely held ideas about the origins of photosynthesis: that species incapable of photosynthesis suddenly obtained the capacity through genes passed laterally from other organisms. According to Cardona, in light of the new discoveries, horizontal gene transfer and gene loss may both have played a role in the diversification of reaction centers, although he suspects that the latter may have been responsible for the earliest events. The finding, he said, might suggest that “the balance skews toward the gene-loss hypothesis”—and toward the idea that photosynthesis was an ancestral characteristic that some groups of bacteria lost over time.

What is the primary purpose of photosynthesis?

Through experiments, students determine that carbon dioxide, light, and chlorophyll are three of the necessary components of photosynthesis. They also discover that during photosynthesis, plants produce oxygen and produce sugar, which is then quickly converted to starch.

What is the primary purpose of photosynthesis? - …

Cardona, who was not involved in the recent study but has begun interpreting its results, thinks he may have found a hint in the heliobacterium reaction center. According to him, the complex seems to have structural elements that would have later lent themselves to the production of oxygen during photosynthesis, even if that wasn’t their initial purpose. He found that a particular binding site for calcium in the heliobacteria’s structure was identical to the position of the manganese cluster in photosystem II, which made it possible to oxidize water and produce oxygen.

Since it was discovered in the soil around Iceland’s hot springs in the mid-1990s, H. modesticaldum has presented researchers with an interesting piece of the photosynthesis puzzle. The only photosynthetic bacterium in a family with hundreds of species and genera, heliobacteria’s photosynthetic equipment is very simple—something that became even more apparent when it was sequenced in 2008. “Its genetics are very streamlined,” said , a biochemist at Imperial College London.

Overview of Photosynthesis | Boundless Biology

Photosynthesis directly or indirectly powers and sustains almost every organism on Earth. It is responsible for the composition of our atmosphere and forms the foundation of the planet’s many interwoven ecosystems. Moreover, as , a biologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, noted, photosynthesis liberated cells to grow and evolve boundlessly by letting them derive energy from a new, inexhaustible, nonterrestrial source. “When photosynthesis entered the picture, life connected up to the cosmos,” he said.

We exhale the carbon dioxide that plants need for photosynthesis.



Many scientists contributed to the discovery and understanding of photosynthesis throughout the ages; in this page are outlined some of those crucial milestone experiments that contributed to this effort.




Jan Baptista van Helmont, Flemish physician, chemist, and physicist, in the 1600s carried out a famous experiment by growing a willow tree in a pot for five years.

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