New Scientist reports that the most ancient biological clock has been discovered that is common to all life on Earth. They report:
Biological clocks are ubiquitous in nature, so the first clock should pre-date the evolutionary parting of the ways that led to modern groups of organisms. All the clocks found so far are unique to different groups of organisms, though. Not so the clock discovered by Akhilesh Reddy at the University of Cambridge and colleagues. In an enzyme called peroxiredoxin (PRX), they seem to have found a grandfather clock – one that is common to nearly all life.
In the article Peroxiredoxins are conserved markers of circadian rhythms the large team of authors reports:
Cellular life emerged ~3.7 billion years ago. With scant exception, terrestrial organisms have evolved under predictable daily cycles owing to the Earth’s rotation. The advantage conferred on organisms that anticipate such environmental cycles has driven the evolution of endogenous circadian rhythms that tune internal physiology to external conditions. The molecular phylogeny of mechanisms driving these rhythms has been difficult to dissect because identified clock genes and proteins are not conserved across the domains of life: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryota. Here we show that oxidation–reduction cycles of peroxiredoxin proteins constitute a universal marker for circadian rhythms in all domains of life, by characterizing their oscillations in a variety of model organisms. Furthermore, we explore the interconnectivity between these metabolic cycles and transcription–translation feedback loops of the clockwork in each system. Our results suggest an intimate co-evolution of cellular timekeeping with redox homeostatic mechanisms after the Great Oxidation Event ~2.5 billion years ago.
The DNA sequence of various organisms are very similar