Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


At Science Daily: Bacteria and humans have similar defenses against viruses

Any life form needs a strategy for dealing with viruses. Humans, bacteria, and perhaps countless other life forms may have hit on the same one - convergent evolution Read More ›

At Nature: “Dogma-defying bacteria package DNA in unusual ways”

Dogma? Defying dogma? "Bizarre"? These bacteria are just going about their usual business, unconscious of the dogmas some have chosen to promulgate about them. They were never obliged by any power in this world or any other to do only what the dogmatists insist they do. Read More ›

Researchers: Eukaryotes got started from a merger between bacteria and archaea, without oxygen

On the whole, it might be easier to conclude that the timing is somewhat off than that complex life started without oxygen. But symbiosis is an intriguing theory nonetheless. Read More ›

Largest bacterium ever discovered is as big as a peanut

Tim Standish: If prokaryotes have the capacity to develop very complex cells, why didn’t they do what eukaryotes did and turn into multicellular organisms, assuming there is some sort of fitness advantage to doing so? Why would being multicellular increase fitness in eukaryotes and not bacteria or archaea? Read More ›

A scare from New Scientist: Melting permafrost could release ancient viruses that cause the next pandemic

The basis for such panic marketing is usually a correct science observation — in this case, that microscopic life forms (and viruses) may hibernate for long periods in ice. However, as the New Scientist article notes, “bacteria that infect humans are adapted to live at our body temperatures, so it is highly unlikely that they would survive for long periods below zero.” Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Would cognition in bacteria “dethrone” humans?

Takehome: Of course we can “see ourselves” as an earthworm. But it doesn’t work in reverse. And Pamela Lyon sheds no light on that fact, apart from denigrating humans. Read More ›

Horizontal gene transfer: Bacteria apparently despise the selfish gene

Researchers: "Cooperation is ubiquitous in bacterial populations. Bacteria produce and share public goods, providing indiscriminate benefits to their neighbors at cost to themselves." It makes sense but it isn’t yer old biology teacher’s evolution. Read More ›

Researchers: “Positive interactions are common among culturable bacteria”

And here we thought nature was “red in tooth and claw.” From the paper: "We find that positive interactions, often described to be rare, occur commonly and primarily as parasitisms between strains that differ in their carbon consumption profiles." Read More ›

Researchers: The last bacterial common ancestor had a flagellum

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. Read More ›

Researchers search for the “last bacterial common ancestor” in a world of horizontal gene transfer

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. Read More ›

At Scientific American: How some bacteria have achieved “immortality”

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. Read More ›