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Originally posted by marg6043
Now I found this link that is very interesting in which shows that bacteria are evolving into insects.
Dangerous Bacteria Evolving in Insects
Scientists have evidence that bacteria dangerous to humans have begun evolving in insects, for reasons that are not clear.
The October edition of Nature Reviews: Microbiology reports that invertebrates such as worms and insects may have begun enabling a rapid evolution for bacteria normally not harmful to humans. Not only are insects capable of delivering disease through bites and stings, they now may be the breeding ground for strains of infectious bacteria never before seen in humans.
A group of English physicians led by Dr. Nick Waterfield of the University of Bath has already found an unusual new bacterium causing oozing sores on its victims. They believe the new bacterium may have evolved from one which previously only affected insects via the nematode worm. This new strain has infected approximately a dozen Americans and Australians so far.
Every bacterium has a set of genes that completely describe the bacterium, and which dictate the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the bacterium. These genes are made of the chemicals DNA and RNA. This set of genes is known as the genotype of the bacterium. Usually, when a parent bacterium splits into two bacteria, the two progeny bacteria are genetically identical, i.e. they have the same genotype.
However, this is not always the case. There are several situations in which the genes(genotype) of a bacterium can change.
Mutation. Mutation happens when there is a genetic "error" in the copying of the genes from parent to progeny bacterium. This results in a progeny bacterium which has a different genotype to that of its parent. Mutation rates vary between different genus and species of bacteria. Statistically, random mutations may occur as often as one in every million multiplications, or as seldom as one in every billion multiplications.
However, since most bacterial populations in the human body number well into the millions, if not billions, the chances are that there will be many mutations with each new generation.
Transduction. Bacteria, like humans, can be attacked by viruses. These bacterial viruses are known as bacteriophages. These bacteriophages invade bacteria, and can change their DNA. They may also carry DNA from one bacterium to another. These actions alter the genotype of the bacterium. This process is known as Transduction.
Conjugation. Sometimes bacteria may join together and exchange DNA. This changes the genotype of the bacteria. This process is known as Conjugation.
Why are the above important? Because they allow the bacteria to adapt to their environment. Changes in the genotype may allow the bacteria to obtain nutrition from sources they were unable to feed from before, they may allow the bacteria to survive in a more hostile environment, and they may allow the bacteria to avoid the action of destructive chemicals (e.g. anti-biotics) or allow them to produce chemicals that protect from attack by organisms that are capable of destroying them.
Originally posted by cownosecat
Okay I know this is short, but hey it's to the point. Okay so bacteria mutate on a regular basis, especially when attacked by a bodies immune system.
Does this meen they are evolving?
And why are viruses not alive? Just because some definition on what it is to be alive says so?
I think they are still alive.
No, bacteria aren't evolving. An E. Coli bacterium that mutates is still an E. Coli.