reply to post by SLAYER69
I'm no expert on the topic but thought if this is true then the implications would be fairly drastic and could open a whole other angle on
life here on earth and possibly on other worlds.
Honestly, I think a much more appropriate change is in order for the classification of life and its forms.
It's called the Red Queen Hypothesis. Basically - who we are, what we are, and how we evolved is not a product of random mutations selected by
environmental factors so much as we have been honed by a billion year long process to propagate the genetic code our body serves (a critical concept
of the Red Queen Hypothesis is that one understands it is genetic code that evolves based on the concept of reproduction - everything else is a
Think about it. Sex is a completely illogical thing. Men can never have children on their own - we must, instead, waste valuable time and resources
finding a mate and getting to the process of procreating when we could, simply, pop out a duplicate of ourselves.
There must be some reason sex 'won' and cloning is not the norm.
The answer is simple. Parasites. Bacteria, viruses, even mutant segments of genetic code
can all be considered parasitic. In order to
survive - those parasites also evolve, which drives their hosts to evolve a counter - and so on, and so-forth. One only maintains a small edge over
the other for a short period of time - but it's enough to ensure survival.
It's also the only sensible explanation for why DNA would intentionally mutate itself in sexual reproduction (recombinant). It's worthwhile to the
strand replicating itself to scramble some of the genetic code going to its offspring - so that the two (or more) offspring are dissimilar enough that
one or two may possess a trait (such as a different 'security key' on the cell membrane) that diminishes the effectiveness of a virus that decimates
your other kids.
One of the interesting and "new" phenomena to be realized is that of parasitic DNA.
While the study and group ultimately cautioned against generalizing such DNA as "selfish" or "parasitic" - the dynamic is discussed:
Basically - even at the single-celled organism level, certain strands of DNA code in a sequence to replicate itself and have the host bacteria inject
it into a local bacteria.
This is a very decent overview and discussion: www.pnas.org...
I find it far more likely that viruses actually evolved as an expression of these 'selfish' strands of DNA - and once you create a new 'weapon' in
an arms race, it doesn't go away - it only gets amplified and modified by Red Queen evolution.
Considering the nature of Viruses to survive, we may need to rethink about the requirements for life elsewhere.....
Here's the problem.
Viruses don't replicate 'naturally.' Their natural form of replication involves the cell - the only self-replicating structure we've really come
across (unless you count crystalline formations - but that's self-assembly more than reproduction).
It's far easier to see viruses evolving from existing cell lines than it is to see them coming about separately.
Of course - that leaves the question of where life came from to begin with - but I'm not so convinced that the past we infer actually existed....
though that's a discussion on origins theories which is well beyond the scope of this discussion.