Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Horizontal gene transfer between vertebrates: herring and smelt


Unexpected, of course:

The recent assembly of the herring genome suggests this fish acquired its antifreeze protein gene by horizontal transfer and then passed a copy on to the smelt. The direction of gene transfer is confirmed by some accompanying transposable elements and by the breakage of gene synteny…

The sequential transfer of an advantageous gene between fishes leads us to suggest that these events, while extremely rare, might happen as consequence of external fertilization in a medium containing the shed DNA of all the ecosystem’s inhabitants. It will be worth examining fish for other examples of HGT.

Laurie A. Graham, Peter L. Davies, Horizontal Gene Transfer in Vertebrates: A Fishy Tale, Trends in Genetics, 2021, ISSN 0168-9525, ttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.tig.2021.02.006. The paper is open access.

We don’t know that HGT is “extremely rare” in vertebrates. We know that it was unexpected so no one was looking for it.

We also know that it is extremely inconvenient for a discipline that invested so heavily in natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism).

Now, many must pretend that horizontal transfer is the same thing as vertical transfer. Good luck with that.

See also: Horizontal gene transfer: Sorry, Darwin, it’s not your evolution any more

J11, there was this whale that loved to get into bat caves and chow down. Then, there was this virus the bats had. And one day, Johnny Whale woke up with echolocation and stopped bumping into things in the dark. And they lived happily thereafter. KF kairosfocus
@Martin_r nice blog! :) Jonathan11
@Bob As far as I know, those trees are not particularly nice? (see, e.g., https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/dawkinss-claim-every-gene-delivers-approximately-the-same-tree-of-life-contested-at-nature-journal/) I do not believe that HGT is very common, though. It's just that I don't find (some parts!) of the method behind phylogenetic trees to be compelling to start with... I don't have any evidence that bats and dolphins exchanged DNA, and I don't believe they have (I am with Martin on this one). I referred to the molecular convergence found between these creatures, which some might consider indicative of HGT. My comment was more or less sarcastic. I would still be curious to see that mechanism, though. Jonathan11
Jonathan11 @8 me too… no wonder that most of recent mainstream articles on evolution start like follows: “… it challenges a long-held theory…” “… it upends a common view…” “… it shakes up the dogma … ” “… it needs a rethink … ” “… the findings are surprising and unexpected …. ” “… earlier than thought…” “… younger than thought….” “… smarter than thought ….” “… more complex that thought ….” martin_r
Jonathan11 > Anyways, it would be very interesting to see a mechanism that explains how dolphins and bats can exchange genes… 200 genes changed the same way independently in bats and dolphins. Some explanations: 1. it was a very very lucky accident - basically a miracle - but this is not a problem for Darwinists to believe in, i run a blog on similar miracles at www.StuffHappens.info 2. genes were exchanged between these species via HGT (very unlikely), but, allegedly, some viruses can do that - Darwinists claim. 3. Since bats and dolphins are evolutionary not related - these same 200 echolocation genes point to common design (this is my favorite and most reasonable option to believe) martin_r
Jonathan11 @8 me too... martin_r
Jonathan11 - if HGT was common there wouldn't be enough sequence similarity for phylogeny to get a signal. Basically, we wouldn't get nice trees.
Anyways, it would be very interesting to see a mechanism that explains how dolphins and bats can exchange genes…
I'm sorry, what evidence do you have that they have been exchanging genes? Bob O'H
I am always utterly amazed about how researchers can show what exactly happened hundreds of million years ago based on current DNA... Jonathan11
Bob O'H These guys say it is not rare. Occurred "frequently".
In complex multicellular eukaryotes such as animals and plants, horizontal gene transfer is commonly considered rare with very limited evolutionary significance. Here we show that horizontal gene transfer is a dynamic process occurring frequently in the early evolution of land plants. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2148
The answer from the evolutionary perspective is: "Yes, it's rare but it happened frequently." From a couple of weeks ago - a new finding:
The finding, reported today in Cell1, is the first known example of a natural gene transfer from a plant to an insect. It also explains one reason why the whitefly Bemisia tabaci is so adept at munching on crops: the gene that it swiped from plants enables it to neutralize a toxin that some plants produce to defend against insects. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00782-w
Plant to insect. And evolutionary models are built on the speculation that there is vertical descent with Darwinian inheritance. There are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory? Silver Asiatic
Bob O'H:
If it wasn’t rare, a lot of genetics (e.g. syntony, and phylogeny) wouldn’t work.
Your say-so isn't evidence. I doubt they use every gene to form a phylogeny ET
Anyways, it would be very interesting to see a mechanism that explains how dolphins and bats can exchange genes... Jonathan11
Jonathan11, and there are more issues, get this: University of Oregon (2020) "Researchers find flaws in how scientists build trees of life" "In a new paper placed online April 15 ahead of print in the April 23 issue of the journal Nature, they argue that long-used approaches for reconstructing evolutionary paths are deeply flawed." ""I have been working with these traditional types of models for a decade now,” Pennell said. “I am one of the lead developers of a popular software package for estimating diversification rates from phylogenetic trees. And, as such, I thought I had a really good sense of how these models worked. I was wrong."" i like this wording: "The results, Louca said, do not invalidate the theory of evolution itself. They do, however, put constraints on what type of information can be extracted from genetic data to reconstruct evolution's path." ""The results, Louca said, do not invalidate the theory of evolution itself. " :)))))))) full article: https://around.uoregon.edu/content/researchers-find-flaws-how-scientists-build-trees-life martin_r
@Bob: It is my impression that phylogeny works because people assume that there is no HGT. Arguing that because phylogeny works there is no HGT is circular. Did I get that wrong? Jonathan11
BobOH>Yes we do. If it wasn’t rare, a lot of genetics (e.g. syntony, and phylogeny) wouldn’t work. e.g. have you ever heard of "molecular convergent evolution" ? get this (from Sciencemag): "Bats and Dolphins Evolved Echolocation in Same Way" " The analysis revealed that 200 genes had independently changed in the same ways," "The biggest surprise,” says Frédéric Delsuc, a molecular phylogeneticist at Montpellier University in France, “is probably the extent to which convergent molecular evolution seems to be widespread in the genome." "Genomicist Todd Castoe from the University of Texas, Arlington, is also impressed: “I’m pretty convinced they are finding something real, and it’s really exciting [and] pretty important.” However, he is critical about the way the analysis was done, suggesting that the approach found only indirect evidence of molecular convergence." https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/09/bats-and-dolphins-evolved-echolocation-same-way PS: whole E-theory is a big mess... martin_r
We don’t know that HGT is “extremely rare” in vertebrates.
Yes we do. If it wasn't rare, a lot of genetics (e.g. syntony, and phylogeny) wouldn't work. Bob O'H

Leave a Reply