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The Domains of Life

The Domains of Life

How the evolutionary tree branches over time forms the basis for biological classification. As our understanding of evolutionary history has improved, classification has gone from a two kingdom system (plants and animals), to five kingdoms (plant, animal, fungi, protist, and monera – the kingdom of prokaryotic cells), the classification found in many biology textbooks. Molecular techniques have now clarified the early branching of life, resulting in a useful new overview that splits life into three domains: Archaea (bacteria-like in appearance, but with different biochemistry), Bacteria, and Eucarya, the domain of organisms having cells with nuclei and membrane-bound organelles. This program introduces the three domains and focuses on the main events in the evolution of eukaryotic cells:

Early Cells:
A cell containing DNA becomes the ancestor for the three existing lines of life.

Domain Bacteria:
Anatomy of the bacterial cell and the roles bacteria play in the biosphere.

Domain Eucarya:
Complex nucleated [27 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Program Description: The Domains of Life updates the five kingdoms classification scheme with the latest understanding of life’s organization based on DNA, fossil, and biochemical evidence. Concise animations and superb microscope footage of primitive cells show events that shaped life as we know it today. This program addresses the National Science Standards regarding early evolution and the classification of life.

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