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OxygenA Four Billion Year History$
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Donald Eugene Canfield

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145020

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145020.001.0001

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(p.153) Chapter 12 Epilogue

Donald Eugene Canfield

Princeton University Press

This chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. It argues that Earth as a planet has the “right stuff” to be an oxygen-accumulating planet. Having the right stuff, however, is not enough. For oxygen to accumulate, it has to be produced, which means that oxygen-producing organisms must first evolve. On Earth, the pathway to the evolution of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria was quite a convoluted and complex process. The chapter asks, if history would repeat itself, would the outcome be the same? Would cyanobacteria have evolved in the same manner? Would coupled photosystems have emerged in the same way, or at all, or would something different have taken its place?

Keywords:   atmospheric oxygen, Earth, cyanobacteria, oxygen-producing organisms

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