Researchers: For instance, consider the symbiotic fungi that help plants source minerals from the soil. And then there are truly unusual acquired metabolisms, like sea slugs that steal chloroplasts from their food so they can photosynthesize.
So everyone now accepts that non-Darwinian evolution is no longer a thing?
At ScienceDaily: “Yi’s experiments were designed to test this possible pathway that explains how different pathogens actually get resistance from environmental species,” You said. “And he demonstrated that not only is this possible, it’s also very likely.”
Terms like “almost unbelievable” and “magic” are rare in science. One can’t help wondering whether they are code for “This isn’t what Darwinian evolution would teach us to expect but we can’t talk about that, of course.”
At this point, claims that Darwinism can “accommodate” HGT should be seen for what they are special pleading in the face of challenging new findings in evolution.
Again, we ask, if so, in a world where horizontal gene transfer is this extensive and significant, what becomes of all the carefully structured Darwinian tales of the gradual development of selective advantage? Aren’t they just evolutionary fiction, a form of historical fiction?
The obvious question this raises is, what about all the detailed Darwinian narratives that a horizontal gene transfer could obviate?
But the big question, obviously, is the one the media release does not tackle: If HGT can be this extensive, what becomes of elaborate Darwinian explanations as a default?
Just think of all the Darwinism that would have been thrown at this transition decades ago. If the account holds up, it’s another instance of a less neat but more accurate picture of the history of life.
If horizontal gene transfer turns out to be widespread, it will confound carefully worked out Darwinian claims about how “evolution” did this and that via natural selection acting on random mutation. With the whitefly, things didn’t happen that way at all.
It’s probably not anywhere near as simple and certain as Catherine Jessus is making out. Viruses don’t likely do enough to create placentas. But the main point is, this definitely isn’t yer old biology teacher’s Split-the-Desk Rant for Darwin!!! Stay tuned.
Researchers: “Cooperation is ubiquitous in bacterial populations. Bacteria produce and share public goods, providing indiscriminate benefits to their neighbors at cost to themselves.” It makes sense but it isn’t yer old biology teacher’s evolution.
And here we thought nature was “red in tooth and claw.” From the paper: “We find that positive interactions, often described to be rare, occur commonly and primarily as parasitisms between strains that differ in their carbon consumption profiles.”
Question: If the last common ancestor of the bacterium had a flagellum, what do we really know about the evolution of the flagellum? Isn’t that a bit like finding a stone laptop in a Neanderthal cave? That said, it’s nice to see horizontal gene transfer getting proper recognition.
Researchers: Overall, we showed that LGT is a widespread phenomenon in grasses that has moved functional genes across the grass family into domesticated and wild species alike. Successful LGTs appear to increase with both opportunity and compatibility.