Natures wonders: social amoeba's immunity (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, March 03, 2016, 13:16 (1294 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Some amoebas bunch together much like a multicellular organism and have differing functions, but some maintain their trapping mechanisms like engulfing to offer immune protection from predators:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45484/title/Amoebae-Have-Human-Li...
QUOTE: "When resources get low, the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum come together by the thousands to form a stalk topped by a mass of spores, which can blow off in the wind to more-plentiful environments. About 80 percent of the amoeba that contribute to this cooperative structure become spores; approximately 20 percent form the stalk, sacrificing their own survival and reproduction for the success of the group. But there is also a third set of cells—about 1 percent of the population—that maintain the amoeba's typical phagocytic functions, according to a study published yesterday."

QUOTE: “'We have thus discovered that what we believed to be an invention of higher animals is actually a strategy that was already active in unicellular organisms one billion years ago.'
David's comment: In an animal world where everyone is lunch protections are necessary. it started with the earliest organisms.

Many thanks for yet another fascinating discovery. The ramifications are enormous: single cells cooperate to form an efficient community, different ones take on different functions, some even sacrifice themselves for the good of the others. I see no reason why we should not take this as a model for how the whole of evolution has worked: cells link up to form multicellular organisms, with cells deciding among themselves which ones are to perform which functions. The “earliest organisms” first devise the particular system (innovative thinking), and because it works, it survives. But then, when the environment allows, some of these cell communities form new combinations to create new functions, while others remain as they were. Hence diversification, and in the course of approx. 3,800,000,000 years every innovation from the single cell to the ant, the eagle, the elephant, humans and the duckbilled platypus - all are achieved through the inventiveness of cooperating cell communities following the same principles laid down by the amoeba. The beautiful logic of common descent.


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