Thursday, February 23, 2017

How to use the terms bacteria, archaebacteria, eubacteria, eukaryotes, prokaryotes, akaryotes

There are two types of life: eukaryotes and bacteria. And there are two types bacteria: eubacteria and archaebacteria. Eukaryotes are much more complex and contain a nucleus. Bacteria are alternatively denoted "akaryotes" to say that they do not have any nucleus. But also mature red blood cells are devoid of nuclei, and they are not bacteria. "Prokaryotes" has also been used as a name for bacteria, but that insinuates that they are older than eukaryotes, which we cannot know for sure. We do not need any of these confusing terms, but Woese created some confusion when he defined archaebacteria, eubacteria and eukaryotes as domains, and called them for short: "Archaea", "Bacteria" and "Eukarya". It is especially the name Bacteria that is confusing, because that is the same as what has traditionally been called eubacteria. It is not enough to use the capital letter to differentiate between Bacteria and bacteria. The latter is also sometimes used in the beginning of a sentence. In my meaning we do not need these confusing terms, and I will therefore only use the terms eukaryotes and bacteria, the latter consisting of eubacteria and archaebacteria.

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