Centre for Geobiology

Norwegian CoEs behind major scientific breakthroughs

Norwegian CoEs behind major scientific breakthroughs

This year Norwegian Centres of Excellence (CoEs) have made many scientific breakthroughs. In 2015 CoE scientists have published eight articles in Nature since January, equaling the number of CoE Nature publications during 2014.

Steffen Leth Jørgensen.jpg

Steffen Leth Jørgensen
Cédric Hamelin

Director General RCN Mr. Arvid Hallén comments that the articles in Nature are a clear indication that these centers advance the scientific forefront within their respective fields.

One of the articles Mr. Arvid Hallén refers to is the May 2015 Nature paper “Complex archaea that bridge the gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes” co-authored by CGB post-doc Steffen Jørgensen (picture). During an annual CGB cruise a new microbe found a mile and a half below the Atlantic Ocean recently gave the scientists a major lead on the origins of complex life. Named Lokiarchaeota - Loki for short - the tiny organism is truly an unusual microbe.

Despite the current paradigm that suggests that all complex life (named eukaryotes) evolved from simple unicellular organism (known as prokaryotes), it has remained an enigma that the something as advanced as the modern eukaryotic cell could originate from something as simple as the prokaryotic. However, Jørgensen and colleagues found that Lokiarchaeota are more similar to complex-celled eukaryotes than any prokaryotic life form ever found before. Scientists are calling it the “missing link” between prokaryotes and complex life.

Nature Paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v521/n7551/full/nature14447.html
Article on Steffen Leth Jørgensen:
Norwegian Research Council: http://www.forskningsradet.no/servlet/Satellite?c=Nyhet&pagename=Forskni... (in Norwegian only).