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Self-organization theorist publishes new paper on non-Darwinian means of evolution


[ James A. Shapiro ] James Shapiro has a new paper in RNA Biology, “Constraint and opportunity in genome innovation”:

The development of rigorous molecular taxonomy pioneered by Carl Woese has freed evolution science to explore numerous cellular activities that lead to genome change in evolution. These activities include symbiogenesis, inter- and intracellular horizontal DNA transfer, incorporation of DNA from infectious agents, and natural genetic engineering, especially the activity of mobile elements. This article reviews documented examples of all these processes and proposes experiments to extend our understanding of cell-mediated genome change.

Paper (no paywall). The paper itself seems to date from 2012, but to be part of a special issue dedicated to Carl Woese.

Carl Woese (1928–2012), with colleagues,

overturned a universally held assumption about the basic structure of the tree of life. They reported that the microbes now known as Archaea were as distinct from bacteria as plants and animals are. Prior to this finding, scientists had grouped Archaea together with bacteria, and asserted that the tree of life had two main branches – the bacteria (which they called prokarya), and everything else (the eukarya). The new discovery added Archaea as a third main branch of the evolutionary family tree.

See also “The Physiology of the Read-Write Genome” and “Epigenetic control of mobile DNA as an interface between experience and genome change,” and his other publications.

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