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horizontal gene transfer

An example of interwoven protein code (HT, Wiki!)

Here, in human mitochondrial DNA — note the BLUE code start and the RED code stop; all HT to Wiki publishing against known ideological interest: Complex interwoven code is of course doubly functionally specific, so it is exponentially harder to account for, other than by exceedingly sophisticated and creative intelligently directed configuration. Indeed, when I had to write machine code, I thanked my lucky stars 2114’s and 2716’s were by then affordable RAM and EPROM chips, and proceeded from there. (BTW, a neighbour who was an engineer in an earlier era spoke of how people flew across North America just to see 1 MB of live RAM, in a video memory, a million dollar cost in itself.) We know v Read More ›

Billion-year-old algae (“leaves, … branches …”) raise some interesting questions

Like any real history, evolution is not driven by a single force or idea. Horizontal gene transfer from bacteria obviates the quest for an “ancestor” seaweed. Maybe there isn’t one. Read More ›

Question for readers: In a world where horizontal gene transfer is an important force, what becomes of Dawkins’s Selfish Gene?

The selfish gene is an entity driven by an unadmitted teleological force to replicate itself in offspring. But horizontal gene transfer—hardly taken seriously the day before yesterday—features genes that simply end up on a different string. Is a relentless force of selfishness driving them to do that? Or do they just drift and end up on that string? Read More ›

Bacteria harpoon DNA from their environment, to fight antibiotics

Wait. What does this story remind us of? Oh yes, recently a writer at The Atlantic went so far as to express doubt about the claim of a Darwin-in-the-schools lobbyist that everyone needs to buy into their approach to evolution if we want to understand superbugs. Read More ›

Horizontal gene transfer: Cholera bacterium steals 150 genes at once

Relevant in more ways than one. Remember that recent Atlantic article where the writer was grousing that her school didn’t teach “evolution” (Darwinism)? And a Darwin lobbyist told her that as a result we wouldn't understand superbugs? Darwinism is probably in the way, actually. Read More ›

Do genes that jump shake the tree of life?

Yes,but what hope is there that textbooks could start teaching reality when even the right to question the Darwinian [sheet] is still a big controversy in many places? Could science writers like Jabr and others agree that it is time to make textbooks about evolution sound like the reality and not like the 1925 Monkey Trial revisited? Read More ›

Horizontal gene transfer: Parasite plants steal genes from hosts

Indeed, HGT may well be “the tip of the iceberg,” as the researcher says. Consider: Darwinism is about ancestor-descendant relationships. Take that away and the whole elaborate catechism of altruism, kin selection, costly fitness, etc. is poof! And horizontal gene transfer does indeed take that away. Read More ›

“Jumping genes” threaten the world’s antibiotics

Does anyone remember when antibiotic resistance was proof of Darwinism? Antibiotic resistance was Evolution. And Evolution was not non-Darwinian stuff like horizontal gene transfer/jumping genes. Welcome to post-Darwin science. Read More ›

Evolution crime: Grasses are “stealing” genes from neighbors, researchers tell us

Horizontal gene transfer isn’t even that uncommon, as the researchers admit. If this is how people who are used to explaining evolution in Darwinian terms react, maybe they should just stick to propounding Darwinism and leave the rest to people who take a broader and more balanced view. Read More ›

Jerry Coyne continues to be unhappy over David Quammen’s book on Carl Woese

Readers will remember science writer David Quammen’s new book, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life, a biography of Carl Woese, who first identified the Archaea (and doubted Darwinism). They will also doubtless remember Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who does not life Tangled Tree, and… Well, he still doesn’t like it and has been holding forth of late: Most of the publicity about the book—to be sure, publicity pushed by Quammen himself—centers on HGT. It is, we’re told, something that radically overturns Darwin’s view of the “tree of life” and of evolution, and even revises our own view of “what it means to be human” (after all, we’re also told, a substantial part of our genome is dead, Read More ›

Jerry Coyne minimizes the significance of horizontal gene transfer

As we might expect. Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne offers his thoughts on science writer David Quammen’s new book about Carl Woese, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life: Quammen is right that the horizontal transfer of genetic information does complicate our effort to understand the evolutionary past, but he goes too far in claiming that HGT essentially undermines any and all attempts to reconstruct the evolutionary past: “The tree of life is not a true categorical because the history of life just doesn’t resemble a tree.” Before accepting this radical conclusion, we must answer two questions: How in practice can horizontal genetic transmission occur, and how common is it? … In the end, Quammen provides us with a lucid Read More ›