Inferred ancestry of scytonemin biosynthesis proteins in cyanobacteria indicates a response to Paleoproterozoic oxygenation

Erik Tamre & Gregory P. Fournier
Protection from radiation damage is an important adaptation for phototrophic microbes. In the case of cyanobacteria, surface, shallow water, and peritidal environments are especially exposed to long- wavelength ultraviolet (UVA) radiation. Several groups of cyanobacteria within these environments are protected from UVA damage by the production of the pigment scytonemin. Paleontological evidence of cyanobacteria in UVA-exposed environments from the Proterozoic, and possibly as early as the Archaean, suggests a long evolutionary history of radiation protection...
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