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Pigment Purpurogallin

Pigment Purpurogallin:

A team of scientists from the UK and Canada traced the evolution of purple glacier algae, revealing their significant impact on glaciers and challenging traditional evolutionary theories.

  • These algae, which thrive in extreme glacier environments, have evolved to produce a purple pigment, purpurogallin, that protects them from UV and visible light, aiding in their survival.
  • The study shows that these adaptations likely emerged 520-455 million years ago, rather than during the Snowball Earth period as previously thought.
  • This suggests a more recent glacial period drove their evolution.
  • The algae’s ability to simplify rather than increase in complexity contradicts the traditional “march of progress” hypothesis in evolution.
  • These adaptations have enabled glacier algae to persist and significantly affect glacier melt, highlighting their role in fragile ecosystems and the importance of understanding their evolution in the context of climate change.