About this Research Topic
The ability to harvest light and convert it to chemical energy represents one of the most elegant and complex biological innovations to date—and, notably, it connected biology directly to the primary source of energy for Earth, namely the sun. Photosynthesis is the only significant solar energy storage process on Earth, and this type of metabolism dominates modern surface environments and has throughout most of Earth’s history. In this Research Topic, we aim to highlight the current understanding of the origin and evolution of photosynthesis and provide a platform for new hypotheses and future challenges. Important topics include (but are not limited to): the role of phototrophs in Earth’s redox evolution, key events in the development of photosynthetic machinery, the transition from anoxygenic to oxygenic photosynthesis, isotopic and geochemical biosignatures of photosynthesis in modern and ancient environments, and characterization of the biochemistry, physiology, or ecology of extant phototrophs and their ecological niches.
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