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  Oct 10, 2018

Selenium Evolution

Over three billion years ago, blue-green algae were the most primitive oxygenic photosynthetic organisms and are ancestors of multicellular eukaryotic algae.

Algae that contain the highest amount of antioxidant selenium, iodide, and peroxidase enzymes were the first living cells to produce poisonous oxygen in the atmosphere.

It has been suggested that algal cells required a protective antioxidant action, in which selenium and iodides, through peroxidase enzymes, have had this specific role.

Selenium, which acts synergistically with iodine, is a primitive mineral antioxidant, greatly present in the sea and prokaryotic cells, where it is an essential component of the family of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) antioxidant enzymes; seaweeds accumulate high quantity of selenium and iodine.

From about three billion years ago, prokaryotic selenoprotein families drive selenocysteine evolution. Selenium is incorporated into several prokaryotic selenoprotein families in bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes as selenocysteine, where selenoprotein peroxiredoxins protect bacterial and eukaryotic cells against oxidative damage.

Selenoprotein families of GSH-Px and the deiodinases of eukaryotic cells seem to have a bacterial phylogenetic origin.

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