On the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis and Cyanobacteria

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Oxygenic phototrophs have played a fundamental role in Earth's history by enabling the rise of atmospheric oxygen (O2 ) and paving the way for animal evolution. Understanding the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis and Cyanobacteria are key when piecing together the events around Earth's oxygenation. It is likely that photosynthesis evolved within bacterial lineages that are not extant, so it can be challenging when studying the early history of photosynthesis. Recent genomic and molecular evolution studies have transformed our understanding about the evolution of photosynthetic reaction centres and the evolution of Cyanobacteria. The evidence reviewed here highlights some of the most recent advances on the origin of photosynthesis both at the genomic and gene family level.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalNew Phytologist
Early online date9 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2019


  • Archean
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Great Oxidation Event
  • oxygenic photosynthesis
  • Photosystem I (PSI)
  • Photosystem II (PSII)
  • proterozoic
  • water oxidation

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