Now this is a paragraph:
Among the more profitable endosymbioses is one that allows the host to derive energy from sunlight. The light-harvesting machines of plants and algae, for example, are the products of an ancient merger between a photosynthetic bacterium and a microbial eukaryote. Like mitochondria, present-day plastids—including both pigmented light-harvesting as well as unpigmented nonphotosynthetic chloroplasts—are fully and inescapably integrated into the host cell. Their journey from bacterium to internal solar-powered generator is responsible for much of the success and diversity of life on earth; no other cellular invention has had a greater impact on eukaryotic evolution. In fact, as scientists continue to uncover new and bizarre plastid-bearing lineages, it is becoming clear that many eukaryotic groups lacking plastids actually descend from photosynthetic ancestors. Some species are even in the process of generating novel plastid organelles.
That is to say, just stop and consider everything in that paragraph.
Elysia chlorotica, for instance:
Elysia chlorotica is a “solar-powered” marine sea slug that sequesters and retains photosynthetically active chloroplasts from the algae it eats and, remarkably, has incorporated algal genes into its own genetic code. It is emerald green in color often with small red or white markings, has a slender shape typical of members of its genus, and parapodia (lateral “wings”) that fold over its body in life. This sea slug is unique among animals to possess photosynthesis-specific genes and is an extraordinary example of symbiosis between an alga and mollusc as well as a genetic chimera of these two organisms.
Is there really anything we can add to that? Behold … life!
Smith, David. “Steal My Sunshine”. The Scientist. January 1, 2013.
“Eastern Emerald Elysia”. Encyclopedia of Life. (n.d.)
Pierce, S. K., et al. “Horizontal Transfer of Functional Nuclear Genes Between Multicellular Organisms”. The Biological Bulletin. 204: 237-240. June, 2003.
Image credit: Patrick Krug via EOL.org