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Aphids co-opt Fungi Gene into Genome

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posted on Apr, 30 2010 @ 01:38 PM
While reports of bacteria & other microbes 'promiscuously'* cross specially swapping genetic material are not uncommon,

here is the case of the aphid incorporating a fungus gene into its DNA/genome.

One to produce [anti-oxidant] carotenoids.

While initially in evolution, if ours started completely from scratch, it quite possibly included mutations, the idea of incorporating already working genetic code from other species including viruses designed to splice DNA, seems like it would be a much more productive & potentially successful means of acquiring genetic variation.

Sort of akin to the Wright brothers being bicycle mechanics & incorporating much of that same material, knowledge & parts to construct the relatively different airplane,
instead of someone from an iron mine or a fabric weaver being [among] the first to create a working flying machine.

First Case of Animals Making Their Own Essential Nutrients: Carotenoids

ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2010) — The insects known as aphids can make their own essential nutrients called carotenoids, according to University of Arizona researchers.
. . .
"What happened is
a fungal gene got into an aphid and was copied," Moran said. She added that, although gene transfers between microorganisms are common, finding
a functional fungus gene as part of an animal's DNA is a first.

"Animals have a lot of requirements that reflect ancestral gene loss. This is why we require so many amino acids and vitamins in the diet," she said. "Until now it has been thought that there is simply no way to regain these lost capabilities. But this case in aphids shows that it is indeed possible to acquire the capacity to make needed compounds.

Odd thought: is it our seeming aversion to commingling across/between species that makes this idea less immediately apparent? That we would spend much time talking about nice sanitary 'mutations' rather than the perceptually tawdry idea of swapping DNA with other species. While our aversion to the unsanitary has served our species adequately, clean empiric intellect must not become unsoundly prejudiced by our instinctual biases.

* colorful language. not a precision usage.
I must admit indulging in the luxury of relatively anonymous internet posting for inflammatory, invective speech. It reflects a common climate of speech/debate, most notably by the highly dangerous psychotic delusional reactionaries.
I believe i am open to communicating on a more precision, empirically neutral manner but there doesn't seem to be much of an audience/debaters for that.

[edit on 30-4-2010 by slank]

posted on Apr, 30 2010 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by slank

"Possibly this will be an extraordinarily rare case. But so far in genomic studies, a single initial case usually turns out to be only an example of something more widespread."

Pea aphids, known to scientists as Acyrthosiphon pisum, are either red or green. Aphids are clonal -- the mothers give birth to daughters that are genetically identical to their mothers. So when an aphid in the Moran lab's red 5A strain began giving birth to yellowish-green babies, Moran and her colleagues knew they were looking at the results of a mutation.
As above.

Star and flag for posting the thread. There's a lot to think about in the article. Junk DNA isn't mentioned or suggested, but it springs to mind. I'll have to read more before making a meaningful reply. This is just to say

posted on Apr, 30 2010 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by slank

is it our seeming aversion to commingling across/between
species that makes this idea less immediately apparent?

I think it unlikely that interspecies sex would be the method of transmission. Though a couple quick google searches show that there is plenty of that going on. But "promiscuous" is probably not the best word to describe the nature of relations between your aphid and your fungus that led to dna exchange.

In any case, there is evidence to suggest that the human genome already includes dna from a number of bacteria and other organisms. Some individuals may cringe at the thought...but there are just as many people theorizing interspecies dna exchange. Every now and then somebody proposes that dna can be changed simply through thought. Borrowing genes from others doesn't seem like any stretch.

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