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Three domains of life, as defined by Carl Woese

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Describe the characteristics of the various domains of living things. Do you notice any similarities or differences between the domains' characteristics? What are some of the similarities or differences you notice?

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Solution Summary

In this solution, I briefly describe classification systems. Then I list the three domains of live and describe each, comparing and contrasting similarities and differences between the three domains, archaea, bacteria, and eukarya.

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First let's start with a definition of "domain". A domain is the highest taxonomic rank in the hierarchiac system that organizes living things. Domains are sometimes called superkingdoms. The entire hierarchy is as follows: Domain (there are 3) - Kingdom (there are 5) - Phylum (approx. 50) - Class - Order - Family - Genus - Species (millions)

The domain system was introduced just recently, in 1990, by Carl Woese. Prior to the three domain system, organisms were typically grouped into two high level groups - prokaryotes and eukaryotes. With advances in molecular biology, however Carl Woese and other realized that prokaryotes should be ...

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