Question: If the last common ancestor of the bacterium had a flagellum, what do we really know about the evolution of the flagellum? Isn’t that a bit like finding a stone laptop in a Neanderthal cave? That said, it’s nice to see horizontal gene transfer getting proper recognition.
One senses that the reconstruction will be subject to considerable revision. It’s not entirely clear what “ancestry” means in a world of rampant horizontal gene transfer.
At Scientific American: In this experiment, cells awoke and multiplied that settled to the bottom when pterosaurs and plesiosaurs drifted overhead. Four geologic periods had ground by, but these microbes, protected from radiation and cosmic rays by a thick coat of ocean and sediment, quietly persisted. And now, when offered a bite, they awoke and carried on as if nothing unusual had happened.
What about bacteria? If personality amounts to observed individual differences in behavior, the answer is yes.
Clever little things, aren’t they? Change the host’s genome? So much intelligence in nature and it is supposedly all just an accident. Sure.
Researchers: Achromatium is special in many respects: It is 30,000 times larger than its “normal” counterparts that live in water and owing to its calcite deposits it is visible to the naked eye. It has several hundred chromosomes, which are most likely not identical. This makes Achromatium the only known bacterium with several different genomes.
Many of the mistakes listed seem just to be natural, though incorrect, assumptions of their day. This arsenic-based life though, now that was intriguing, if wrong.
Evolution News and Science Today describes the idea as “little more than a hunch” but one worth pursuing. It involves endosymbiosis and horizontal gene transfer. Its a start towards a reasonable explanation and way better than classic Darwinism.
Researchers: “To build the machinery that enables bacteria to swim, over 50 proteins have to be assembled according to a logic and well-defined order to form the flagellum, the cellular equivalent of an offshore engine of a boat.” They ADMIT this? It sounds like a Recovery Meeting.
Already complex? No intermediate forms? Where have we heard that before?
Geoffrey Simmons, author of The Adam Experiment, points out that many animals and even bacteria show behavior that seems like thinking.
Researcher: “They mix their machinery to survive or do metabolism, and that’s kind of extraordinary, because we always assumed that each and every organism has its own independent identity and machinery,” said Papoutsakis.
Some see this as evidence that the universe is teeming with life on numberless planets. But what if we find fossil bacteria on Mars with genetics eerily similar to the ones we have on Earth? That could end up undermining such claims. But we shall see.
LiveScience: Through necrosignaling, bacteria alert their swarming neighbors to the presence of a deadly threat, and thereby save the majority of the swarm (a bacterial colony that’s on the move).
At Wired: As they cleared paths of food, the E.coli tended to move toward unexplored, broth-rich areas, which ultimately helped them evacuate the maze. It took about 10 hours for about 1 percent of the multiple generations of bacteria to collectively solve the puzzle. That may not sound fast, but it’s five times faster than if the organisms had just been swimming around randomly, says Phan.