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At Nature: Carl Woese’s archaea are “shaking up the tree of life”


The Archaea, a huge domain of life, were only identified in the 1970s, by Carl Woese., They, of course, were a problem for the Darwinian Tree of Life, which we were all taught in school as the Correct Understanding:

These newly discovered archaea have genes that are considered hallmarks of eukaryotes. And deep analysis of the organisms’ DNA suggests that modern eukaryotes belong to the same archaeal group. If that’s the case, essentially all complex life — everything from green algae to blue whales — originally came from archaea.

But many scientists remain unconvinced. Evolutionary tree building is messy, contentious work. And no one has yet published evidence to show that these organisms can be grown in the lab, which makes them difficult to study. The debate is still rancorous. Stalwarts on both sides are “very hostile to each other, and 100% believe there’s nothing correct in the other camp”, Hugenholtz says. Some decline to voice an opinion, for fear of offending senior colleagues. Traci Watson, “The trickster microbes that are shaking up the tree of life” at Nature

You know, we thought that the calm, united exterior was just wallpaper featuring calm scenes… It was the noise, see?

The real issue, as Watson goes on to note, is how did complex life forms come to exist? Competing, hotly contested “trees of life” abound, as she goes on to explain, with images taken from the pantheon of Norse gods (some archaea were discovered in Greenland).

Two factors turn up the heat: Archaea resist cultivation in a laboratory and most of the arguments turn on claims that are not very reliable. As Watson puts it: “Even those who are master tree-builders concede that it is tricky to untangle how organisms living two billion years ago were related to each other. Biologists reconstruct these relationships by modelling how a particular ‘marker’ — usually a protein or a gene — has changed over time in the organisms of interest.”

If the most complex cells descended from the least complex ones (which is what it looks like), that’s not really something many researchers want to hear.

The Tangled Tree

Note: Science writer David Quammen recently challenged the Tree of Life in a recent book on Carl Woese, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life :

See also: Carl Woese on the “conceptual failings of the modern evolutionary synthesis”

Before you go: DNA uses “climbers’ ropes method” to keep tangles at bay

DNA as a laster of resource recycling

The amazing energy efficiency of cells: A science writer compares the cell to human inventions and finds that it is indeed amazingly energy-efficient.

In addition to DNA, our cells have an instruction language written in sugar Of course it all just tumbled into existence and “natural selection” somehow organized everything. As if.

Cells find optimal solutions. Not just good ones.

Researchers build “public library” to help understand photosynthesis

Wait. “The part of the plant responsible for photosynthesis is like a complex machine made up of many parts, … ” And machines just happen all by themselves, right? There is no information load to account for; it just evolved by natural selection acting on random mutation the way your Android did!

In Nature: Cells have “secret conversations” We say this a lot: That’s a lot of information to have simply come into being by natural selection acting on random mutation (Darwinism). It’s getting not only ridiculous but obviously ridiculous.

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Researchers: Helpful gut microbes send messages to their hosts If the strategy is clearly identified, they should look for non-helpful microbes that have found a way to copy it (horizontal gene transfer?)

Cells and proteins use sugars to talk to one another Cells are like Neanderthal man. They get smarter every time we run into them. And just think, it all just tumbled into existence by natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism) too…

Researchers: First animal cell was not simple; it could “transdifferentiate” From the paper: “… these analyses offer no support for the homology of sponge choanocytes and choanoflagellates, nor for the view that the first multicellular animals were simple balls of cells with limited capacity to differentiate.”

“Interspecies communication” strategy between gut bacteria and mammalian hosts’ genes described

Researchers: Cells Have A Repair Crew That Fixes Local Leaks

Researchers: How The Immune System “Thinks”

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Researcher: Mathematics Sheds Light On “Unfathomably Complex” Cellular Thinking

How do cells in the body know where they are supposed to be?

Researchers A Kill Cancer Code Is Embedded in Every Cell


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