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.
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.
So what, you say? Well, consider: We have no evidence that the relationship “evolved.” We are informed that we ought to see it as evolution but—as so often—we find the same patterns prevailing in the past, without any evolution.
Okay, but then aren’t the microorganisms the unit of selection rather than the host’s genes? This might work for adaptations to change in habitats (they describe one), but it won’t be Darwinism.
“We suspect that if one’s model system or species of study does something unique and interesting, TRGs [taxonomically restricted genes, aka orphans] will be at least partially responsible, and worth seeking out.” Curiously, the PNAS paper seems to show that.
We are told that little is known about co-evolution and symbiosis, which prompts a question: How does the requirement for synchronization affect the overall complexity of the system?
They spent a lot of time ridiculing what they should have been studying. They ridiculed the now commonly accepted idea that a lichen was algae and fungi living as if they were one organism: The very notion of different organisms living so closely with—or within—each other was unheard of. That they should coexist to their Read More…
Symbiosis has been called “the most relevant and enduring biological theme in the history of our planet.” It can safely be said that symbiotic relationships quite often resist Darwinian explanation. According to Maureen A. O’Malley, “There is a long history of researchers who have theorized about symbiosis and evolution, and many of them have aligned Read More…