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Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by moniesisfun
You are thinking exclusively about individual adaptation and survival - I am looking at survival of the species.
I also am considering the fact that adaptive mechanisms go far beyond the genetic and tend to spread horizontally as they do in bacterial communities - in this light, individual adaptations are available to the community and critical to survival of the species, whether or not the individual survives.
[Sorry - am under pressure to get to dinner - not sure I presented these ideas well or correctly. bbl]
Can you give me an example of an individual adaptation which are "available to the community and critical to survival of the species, whether or not the individual survives".
Horizontal gene transfer
* ISS: The direct uptake of foreign genetic material by cells and incorporation into the cells’ genome.
* Wiki: also lateral gene transfer (LGT) or transposition refers to the transfer of genetic material between organisms (by means) other than vertical gene transfer (inheritance).
* USDA: Transmission of DNA between species, involving close contact between the donor's DNA and the recipient, uptake of DNA by the recipient, and stable incorporation of the DNA into the recipient's genome.
* Transformation, the genetic alteration of a cell resulting from the introduction, uptake and expression of foreign genetic material (DNA or RNA). This process is relatively common in bacteria, but less so in eukaryotes. Transformation is often used in laboratories to insert novel genes into bacteria for experiments or for industrial or medical applications. See also molecular biology and biotechnology.
* Transduction, the process in which bacterial DNA is moved from one bacterium to another by a virus (a bacteriophage, or phage).
* Bacterial conjugation, a process in which a bacterial cell transfers genetic material to another cell by cell-to-cell contact.
* Gene transfer agents, virus-like elements encoded by the host … (ie. transposons)
a segment of DNA that can move from one place to another in a cell's genome or between a bacterial cell and a plasmid or virus. Viruses may even carry a transposon from one bacterium to another. Also called jumping gene, transposable element.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.
With regard to how horizontal gene transfer affects evolutionary theory (common descent, universal phylogenetic tree) Carl Woese says:
"...But that was before horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which could offer an alternative explanation for the universality of biochemistry, was recognized as a major part of the evolutionary dynamic. In questioning the doctrine of common descent, one necessarily questions the universal phylogenetic tree. That compelling tree image resides deep in our representation of biology. But the tree is no more than a graphical device; it is not some a priori form that nature imposes upon the evolutionary process. It is not a matter of whether your data are consistent with a tree, but whether tree topology is a useful way to represent your data. Ordinarily it is, of course, but the universal tree is no ordinary tree, and its root no ordinary root. Under conditions of extreme HGT, there is no (organismal) "tree." Evolution is basically reticulate (forming a network)."
Originally posted by moniesisfun
reply to post by soficrow
That's incredibly interesting
Pretty much changes the way I think about a lot of things.
Dammit, sofi! I'm going to be running into walls for the next couple of weeks sorting all this out.
US military gets into the 3D printing business
AN ISOLATED military outpost in the middle of hostile territory is a bad place for your equipment to break down. Replacement parts and fuel either have to be air-dropped or driven through dangerous territory. So the US military plans to make remote operating bases and camps self-sufficient, able to generate their own energy and even print their own gadgets.
…It can take months to receive parts that need to be shipped from the US.
To speed up the process, REF has put together three mobile laboratories in 6-metre-long shipping containers. Each lab comes with tools such as plasma cutters and jigsaws, a 3D printer that prints in plastic or metal and a scientist and engineer to run them. The labs, which cost about $2.8 million, can be picked up by helicopter and set down just about anywhere.
The first lab was shipped to Afghanistan in July, and a second will be deployed next month. …
….Soldiers have also used the labs to design hooks for defusing explosive devices, and parts to repair robots. Printing weapons is not on the agenda, Newell says, although fixing them might be. He also envisions printing more complex objects, like batteries and solar panels, which has been shown to be technically feasible (Advanced Materials, doi.org/cm4r85).
If you can email troops the 3D instructions for printing a replacement gun part, then you can email macromolecules - as long as you have a printer that can deposit a repertoire of nucleotides, sugars and/or amino acids where they belong, and link them up chemically.
You'll need a lot of different toner cartridges to recreate the full range of biological widgets, of course. But you may not need that many for modern vaccines, made not of dead germs but of their key molecules. In fact, for DNA vaccines - which often work well in experiments but have never been commercialised, because of safety concerns - you could do it now with a machine that synthesises DNA to an emailed sequence. Proteins wouldn't be much harder. As long as you also had the vials of sterile saline plus immunity-boosting additives to mix with the DNA or protein, and make it a vaccine.
This has game-changing implications for public health, and for biodefence. …