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Author Topic:   IC challenge: Evolve a bicycle into a motorcycle!
Member (Idle past 3226 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004

Message 139 of 157 (341203)
08-18-2006 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by Soplar
10-27-2005 4:17 PM

Re: Distiguishing between Designer and Design Process
One interesting aspect of the evolutionary T&E process is the appearance of the organism with the greatest survival ability – Homo sapiens. This has led to the increased rate of extinction of those organisms less able to compete which includes just about all species.

Save bacteria and viri.

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Member (Idle past 3226 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004

Message 149 of 157 (341812)
08-20-2006 10:14 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by Soplar
08-20-2006 2:13 PM

Re: Distiguishing between Designer and Design Process
Thanks, Soplar. One tries to be rational. Except when I`m teasing. Or stirring (an irritating Aussie habit, I`m afraid). The sheer variety of bacteria and rapidity of lateral transfer gives them abilities that Homo sap would die for. Our very existence in present form has depended on bacterial insertions. To give an idea of numbers, here`s something I posted elsewhere in EVC

"We step on soil every day, but few people realize that 'dirt' supports a complex community of microorganisms that plays a critical role on Earth, he said. "The number of bacterial species in a spoonful of soil is likely to exceed the total number of plant species in all of the United States."


The group, led by microbiologist William B. Whitman, estimates the number to be five million trillion trillion that's a five with 30 zeroes after it. Look at it this way. If each bacterium were a penny, the stack would reach a trillion light years. These almost incomprehensible numbers give only a sketch of the vast pervasiveness of bacteria in the natural world.


To put this in its context Jack Heinemann of Canterbury University pointed out that it is extremely difficult to simply detect HGT as at present scientists are only aware of 10 million species of bacteria which is only 1% of the total number of bacteria species i.e. we don’t have clue about the other 99%. On top of this of the species of bacteria that are known not all of them are able to be studied in the lab as they cannot be cultured for analysis. Put in a global context bacteria hold as much carbon in them as all the plants on the planet and ten times the amount of nitrogen than plants. While virus species out number bacteria by 10-100 times.

If simplicity ensures long-term survival, maybe we are heading the wrong way

Researchers at Oregon State University and Diversa Corporation have discovered that the smallest free-living cell known also has the smallest genome, or genetic structure, of any independent cell - and yet it dominates life in the oceans, thrives where most other cells would die, and plays a huge role in the cycling of carbon on Earth.
In nature, apparently, bigger is not always better.
Publishing in the journal Science, scientists outlined the growing knowledge about SAR11, a group of bacteria so dominant that their combined weight exceeds that of all the fish in the world's oceans.
In a marine environment that's low in nutrients and other resources, they are able to survive and replicate in extraordinary numbers - a milliliter of sea water off the Oregon coast might contain 500,000 of these cells.
"The ocean is a very competitive environment, and these bacteria apparently won the race," said Stephen Giovannoni, an OSU professor of microbiology. "Our analysis of the SAR11 genome indicates that they became the dominant life form in the oceans largely by being the simplest."
The new study outlines how SAR11 has one of the most compact, streamlined genomes ever discovered, with only 1.3 million base pairs - the smallest ever found in a free living organism, and a number that's literally tiny compared to something like the human genome.
"SAR11 has almost no wasted DNA," Giovannoni said. "This organism is extremely small and efficient. Every genetic part serves a purpose, more so than any other genome we've studied."
The organism is able to survive as an unattached cell in a hostile environment, has a complete set of biosynthetic pathways, and can reproduce efficiently by consuming dissolved organic matter.
"By comparison, humans are mostly junk DNA, with large parts of the human genome having no important function," Giovannoni said.
This type of genome streamlining, researchers say, appears to be a major factor in the evolutionary success of SAR11, which they believe may have been thriving for a billion years or more. One scientific hypothesis holds that natural selection acts to reduce genome size because of the metabolic burden of replicating "junk" DNA with no adaptive value. SAR11 supports that theory.
Researchers are particularly interested in SAR11, Giovannoni said, because of the critical role it plays in geochemistry. Photosynthesis is a process used by plants to convert sunlight energy into organic molecules, creating the foundation of the food chain and producing oxygen.
About half of photosynthesis and the resulting oxygen on Earth are produced by algae in the ocean, and microbes like SAR11 recycle organic carbon - producing the nutrients needed for algal growth.
"Ultimately, SAR11 through its sheer abundance plays a major role in the Earth's carbon cycle," Giovannoni said.
"Quite simply, this is something we need to know more about. SAR11 is a major consumer of the organic carbon in the oceans, which nearly equals the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon cycle affects all forms of plant and animal life, not to mention the atmosphere and fossil fuel formation."
SAR11 was first discovered at OSU in 1990. Since then researchers have learned that populations of SAR11 increase during the summer and decrease during the winter, in a cycle that correlates to the ebb and flow of organic carbon in the ocean surface.
Molecular probes, gene cloning, sequencing techniques and other tools have been used in this exploration.

Guess this knocks the idea of more complex organisms supplanting simpler.

On numbers alone, we fight a losing battle. Add the dimishing resources as we proliferate and it seems a good time to swap species.:D

To sum up, I see no evidence of any supernatural influence. Chemistry created life. Chemistry governs life. Chemistry ends life.

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Member (Idle past 3226 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004

Message 151 of 157 (341832)
08-20-2006 11:14 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by AnswersInGenitals
08-20-2006 7:53 PM

Lynn Margulis
Actually, the motorcycle did evolve from the bike, but not through a gradual series of allelic gene mutations. It was an instance of endosymbiosis. If you are not familiar with this term, you should read Lynn Margulis' "Symbiotic Planet". It is a very short book and lays out the concept and evidence for endosymbiosis in a straightforward manner. Just be careful not to take her seriously when she proposes this mechanism for all speciation events. She has the mind of a great biologist, but the soul of a crackpot creationist, seeing her solution as the only possible one and all criticism as part os a great conspiracy.

"Crackpot creationist"? I say, AIG, that`s a tad harsh. I have three books by Margulis and think she lays out, with many related references, her ideas of bacterial insertions in quite a convincing way. What particularly did you object to?

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