Scientists remain divided in their assessment of whether origin of life and evolution are linked. One investigator I’ve discussed this with for The Paradigm Shifters, Eugene Koonin, an expert in viruses and microbes, comments: “So, in a sense, you cannot help thinking the origin is a boundary, so there is something distinct in the origin problem from the rest of evolution.”
Koonin also thinks paradigm shift is crucial since viruses and microbes, which transfer “genetic” information nonlinearly (non-Darwinian) and are the largest part of the biomass, were left out of the Modern Synthesis. And, says Koonin further, “in nature, any multicellular organism – animal, fungus, or plant” – lives within the context of the biome. (p. 2)
See also: The Scientist asks, Should giant viruses be the fourth domain of life? Eukaryotes, prokaryotes, archaea… and viruses?
Are viruses nature’s perfect machine? Or alive?
If we really aren’t sure whether viruses are alive or machines, but they matter, we are certainly in the middle of a paradigm shift.
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