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..Specifically, Louis has isolated strange, thick-walled, red-tinted cell-like structures about 10 microns in size. Stranger still, dozens of his experiments suggest that the particles may lack DNA yet still reproduce plentifully, even in water superheated to nearly 600 degrees Fahrenheit . (The known upper limit for life in water is about 250 degrees Fahrenheit)
Originally posted by Long Lance
If you accept the premise that we are all part of an ecosystem, more or less, this system suddenly seems a lot more tightly knit than ever before, doesn't it?
Speculation aside, one thing is certain. "Bizarre things are going on that we are just beginning to get a handle on," says Marcus Pembrey, a clinical geneticist at the Institute of Child Health in London. ,R Consider the pregnant Dutch women who starved during the famine of the Second World War. Not unexpectedly, thev had small babies. Far more surprisingly, those babies went on to have small babies, even though the postwar generation was well fed and no genes had been tinkered with. Then there are the perplexing findings in mice and rats. Give just one generation of male rats a drug called alloxan, which decreases the body's sensitivity to the hormone insulin, and their offspring and their offspring's offspring become progressively more prone to diabetes. Expose mice to high doses of morphine and the damage to the nervous system persists in their descendants. And one injection of the thyroid hormone thyroxine into a newborn rodent permanently depresses levels of both that hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone-and levels remain low in the next generation, too. Many of these observations are decades old and have long been relegated to the scrap heap of unexplained and inconvenient findings.
Lamarck is however remembered today mainly in connection with his now superseded theory of heredity, the "inheritance of acquired traits" (see Lamarckism).
The viruses that make us: a role for endogenous retrovirus in the evolution of placental species
We currently think of a virus as an agent that necessarily reduce host fitness and generally cause disease, together with other pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. In this presentation I will develop the idea that in addition to this role, viruses can also invent systems of molecular genetic identity and superimpose a new combined identity onto the infected host. In so doing, a virus can allow the host itself to adapt to the environment and evolve quickly, providing a creative force that the host may further develop into systems of identity and immunity that can contribute directly to host evolution.
...the genomes of placental mammals are also highly infected with retroviruses found only in their genomes (endogenous) and because retroviruses are generally immunosuppressive, I examine the possibility that the embryo is acting like an infectious agent that produces virus to suppress the mother's immune system.
...parasitic viral-like genomes may represent one of the primary mechanisms for the evolution of higher order living systems.
Most of the cells in your body are not your own, nor are they even human. They are bacterial. From the invisible strands of fungi waiting to sprout between our toes, to the kilogram of bacterial matter in our guts, we are best viewed as walking "superorganisms," highly complex conglomerations of human cells, bacteria, fungi and viruses.
[Ed....I would add "macromolecules" and "nanoparticles."]
Also see Wikipedia: Superorganism