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Scientists discover single gene mutation which led to multi-cellular animal life

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posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:34 PM
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That ever-shrinking pocket of scientific ignorance continues to diminish..


Researchers think they have pinpointed the moment animal life on earth went from single to multi-celled, and amazingly it was due to a single gene mutation.


The discovery was made thanks to choanoflagellates — tiny balloon-shaped creatures that are our closest living unicellular cousins — and a cool bit of evolutionary time travel known as ancestral protein reconstruction, which allows scientists to resurrect the genomes of long-dead creatures based on their modern descendants’ DNA.

In this case, the reconstruction took Prehoda and his colleagues back about 600 million years, when ancient beings no bigger than a single cell swam through vast shallow seas covering what are now continents.



“We were expecting many genes to be involved, working together in certain ways, because [the jump to multi-cellularity] seems like a really difficult thing to do,” he said.

But it turned out that only one was needed: A single mutation that repurposed a certain type of protein. Instead of working as enzymes (proteins that facilitate reactions inside the cell) the proteins were now what’s known as an interaction domain. They could communicate with and bind to other proteins, a useful skill for cells that have decided to trade the rugged individualist life for the collaboration of a group. In the wild world of pre-complex life, this development was orders of magnitude better than Twitter for getting organisms organized. Every example of cells collaborating that has arisen since — from the trilobites of 500 million years ago to the dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and you — probably relied on it or some other similar mutation.



We used an approach called Phylogenetic Ancestral Sequence Reconstruction to computationally reconstruct the amino acid sequences of ancient proteins. This method begins with protein sequences from descendant (i.e. modern-day) versions of the protein sampled from many animal species, and then uses a statistical model of evolution to work backwards in time and reconstruct trajectories of ancient proteins.
We pinpointed the evolutionary transition from single-cellularity to multi-cellularity in animals by looking in our phylogenetic model for the point where multi-cellular animals branch from other lineages of single-celled species.


The Washington Post: Startling new finding: 600 million years ago, a biological mishap changed everything

Link to scientific paper

Wiki article on Ancestral Reconstruction


As well as being an important discovery with regard to the origin of animal life on Earth, this may well have a profound impact on the research and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Thoughts?




posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:42 PM
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a reply to: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

i think there is no way i can really verify the truth about it because i dont understand it really.
that said, im a believer of science and absolutely anything that gets people away from explaining life through god/religion works for me

but 600 million years ago. gene mutation.
works for me


i will take that over the floating man any day
edit on 11-1-2016 by TinySickTears because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:43 PM
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originally posted by: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

Researchers think


My thoughts are the same as the researchers, poor assumptions based on what fits with their beliefs

In a couple of months there will be many problems associated with this new thought, no doubt
Its not science when "thinks" are trumpeted as truths

Lets wait and see what happens in time.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:45 PM
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a reply to: Raggedyman

Science is never absolute. Every discovery or conclusion is always, always tentative and open to revision at a later date, should new data contradict it.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: TinySickTears

By the sounds of it, they identified the gene and subsequent mutation that allowed single celled organisms to interact and bind to one another. This would help explain one event that facilitated the rise of a symbiotic relation ship leading to multi celled systems.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:52 PM
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a reply to: Cypress

well in that case i totally get it



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:52 PM
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a reply to: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

If science is not absolute why do we put so much faith in it?

I see science as a cheap decoder ring that helps us decode a message of unknown origin. Problem is anyone can construct a decoder ring and make the original message say anything that it wants.

as far as gene mutations go i question how they can "pinpoint" exactly when it happens, kind of like how "know" when the big bang happened. Even though that number changes.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 09:58 PM
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a reply to: Raggedyman




posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:08 PM
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originally posted by: DOCHOLIDAZE1
a reply to: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

If science is not absolute why do we put so much faith in it?


Who puts faith in it? We might 'trust' that a given scientist knows what they are talking about based on certain criteria, but anyone who understands the way science works knows that ' absolute truth' is not a scientific concept. The idea that science is somehow about certainty is a misguided one. The revisionist nature of science is its greatest strength - it continually improves upon itself.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:14 PM
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a reply to: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing
a reply to: Cypress

This is a fascinating find! Although it's very much over MY head, it reminds me of the scientific find of chromosomal fusion, which separates human from chimps, etc.




posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:20 PM
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Over my head.

However I do believe science if more magic than science.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:29 PM
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a reply to: DOCHOLIDAZE1

Trying to "pinpoint" the exact moment will never happen and doesn't matter. The main point is the mutation that switches a primary protein function allowing the binding of cells and it didn't take an overly complex chain of mutations being required to occur. The ramifications of the study are open for discussion; however, that is what promotes further study. Do you dispute this gene mutation and it subsequent effects on the targeted protein was shown?



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:34 PM
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a reply to: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

Btw appreciate the link to the study. Only skimmed over the abstract and news article but this should be an interesting read.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:41 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman

originally posted by: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

Researchers think


My thoughts are the same as the researchers, poor assumptions based on what fits with their beliefs

In a couple of months there will be many problems associated with this new thought, no doubt
Its not science when "thinks" are trumpeted as truths

Lets wait and see what happens in time.


So you quote mine that scientists hypothesis on the ramifications following a study as an excuse to disregard what was actually discovered. Par for the course I guess.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:41 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman

originally posted by: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

Researchers think


My thoughts are the same as the researchers, poor assumptions based on what fits with their beliefs

In a couple of months there will be many problems associated with this new thought, no doubt
Its not science when "thinks" are trumpeted as truths

Lets wait and see what happens in time.


its not about finding evidence that fits x model. its finding evidence that proves x model.

a link between single and multi cell organisms is predicted because it makes sense. finding it will be hard considering how far back scientists will have to look. is it impossible? we dont know but good for them for at least trying. knowledge should never be frowned upon.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:43 PM
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originally posted by: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing
a reply to: Raggedyman

Science is never absolute. Every discovery or conclusion is always, always tentative and open to revision at a later date, should new data contradict it.


Uhmmm yeah, kinda what I was inferring in my post

I see scientific ignorance growing when I read OPs like yours


That ever-shrinking pocket of scientific ignorance continues to diminish.. .


Lets take it for another assumption and also, the ever shrinking pocket is expanding as we discover more information that requires more scientific explanation. This new research will open another Pandora's box gauranteed



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:48 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman

originally posted by: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing

Researchers think


My thoughts are the same as the researchers, poor assumptions based on what fits with their beliefs

In a couple of months there will be many problems associated with this new thought, no doubt
Its not science when "thinks" are trumpeted as truths

Lets wait and see what happens in time.


at least it can be tested.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:48 PM
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a reply to: Raggedyman

you dont seem to be comfortable with any theory that already explains everything. the definition of an educated person is someone who knows how little they know.



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:51 PM
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Not to downplay it's significance , but it could be an inevitable mutation that happens to all life, whether it happened on Earth or perhaps life that evolved elsewhere. IF life exists out in the cosmos, the theory of panspermia would hold that many primitive lifeforms, in different stages of their evolution, would arrive on the Earth and the more advanced would have jump-started many species rather than every life form on Earth evolving from ground zero.
edit on 11-1-2016 by charlyv because: clarity



posted on Jan, 11 2016 @ 10:52 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman

originally posted by: ReturnofTheSonOfNothing
a reply to: Raggedyman

Science is never absolute. Every discovery or conclusion is always, always tentative and open to revision at a later date, should new data contradict it.


Uhmmm yeah, kinda what I was inferring in my post

I see scientific ignorance growing when I read OPs like yours


That ever-shrinking pocket of scientific ignorance continues to diminish.. .


Lets take it for another assumption and also, the ever shrinking pocket is expanding as we discover more information that requires more scientific explanation. This new research will open another Pandora's box gauranteed


So you are stating we understand less now becuase questions arise out of discovery? The new research answers some questions and naturally raises others.



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