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Prion-based Inheritance for Temporary Adaptations

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posted on Sep, 1 2014 @ 11:12 AM
Much research over the past decade or so shows that prions do not just cause diseases like Mad Cow, Alzheimer's, arthritis and diabetes, but often play a key role in evolution too. In short, prions are part of the epigenetic system - existing "above" the genetic code - and able to respond rapidly to environmental change without altering DNA.

Seriously cool, prions are proteins - chemically the same as the ones coded-for by DNA, but folded differently. Form equals function in proteins, so differently folded proteins do different things - even when the proteins' amino acids are the same.

This study shows that certain bacteria jump-start prion replication in yeast cells' membranes during the wine-making process. The yeast cells that are supposed to be fermenting the wine stop doing it, and start creating food for the bacteria instead. Then, the yeast's epigenetic code overrides its genetic code to continue creating prions, and this process is inherited by each subsequent yeast generation - triggering 'stuck' wine fermentations, and spoiling the wine.

Most important, the researchers show that this prion inheritance is reversible. Knowing this, wine-makers now are better able to avoid the problem of 'stuck' wine fermentations.

"This type of prion-based inheritance is useful to organisms when they need to adapt to environmental conditions but not necessarily permanently," Bisson said. "In this case, the heritable changes triggered by the prions enable the yeast to also change back to their initial mode of operation if environmental conditions should change again."

NOTE to mods: The "old" Fragile Earth had a lot more biology so I put this here - but if it's in the wrong place, please move. Thanks, sofi

posted on Sep, 1 2014 @ 11:22 AM
Hey Soficrow, you might be getting at some of Darwin's Observations regarding The Quick and Temporary Adaptations of Birds in The Galapagos, re: The Season to Season Growth of beaks in some birds during Wetter and Drier Years to compensate for the ongoing Climate Changes. Nice Thread Namaste, Arjunanda reply to: soficrow

posted on Sep, 1 2014 @ 01:53 PM
Good thread.

So is this inferring it may be possible to reverse this in humans also if the internal environment is altered? Possibly by eliminating some food chemistry that promotes the growth of prions?

Or am I just seeing something that is not there?

posted on Sep, 1 2014 @ 02:29 PM
a reply to: rickymouse

...So is this inferring it may be possible to reverse this in humans also if the internal environment is altered? ...

Thanks and yes, absolutely. Evidence shows that much disease results as 'adaptation to environmental change.' So reversing the environmental changes can reverse the disease-causing adaptations. This refers to internal and external environments - bad food, medications, contaminated air and water - and the list goes on.

edit on 1/9/14 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 1 2014 @ 02:38 PM
a reply to: arjunanda

Thanks for that confirmation. Interesting that Darwin did not dismiss LaMarck - seems science can and does accommodate both mens' hypotheses.

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