Work in molecular phylogeny during the past few years has documented that the biogenesis, maintenance, adaptation, and controlled resorption of thylakoid (photosynthetic) membranes are by far more complex than the requirements for maintaining their function, especially in plants (eukaryotic photoautotrophs). Plants, due to their genome compartmentation that originated in a cohabitation of cells (endosymbiotic events), have evolved an exquisite set of regulatory mechanisms for their energy-transducing organelles. These operate in concert with basically ancient regulatory circuits originating in the organelle ancestors. It appears that the biogenesis of thylakoid membranes, as that of chloroplasts in general, cannot be understood without knowledge of the history of the cells.

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