Natures wonders: trees induce ants to protect them (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 13:46 (699 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: The mutualism in this case must have caused epigenetic changes in the ants' DNA to develop the foraging genes.

dhw: I don't know why we have to have new names for old concepts, or can you tell us the difference between mutualism and symbiosis?
As for your favourite “epigenetic” changes, you use the word as if it was an explanation. Unless you believe these changes were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, or specifically dabbled by your God, they are clear evidence that the cell communities of the organisms concerned make changes to themselves, even if only minor. What other explanation can you think of besides cellular intelligence?

DAVID: Mutualism was a word used in the article. Symbiosis usually implies a more metabolic association.

In the meantime, I have found out that there are three kinds of symbiosis: commensalism, mutualism and parasitism. The difference, in very general terms, is in the nature of the benefit: commensalism means one organism benefits but it makes no difference to the other; mutualism means both organisms benefit; parasitism means one organ benefits and the other loses out. I apologize to the author and withdraw my complaint.

DAVID: Like Reznick's guppies the ants adapted to the tree's welcome arrangement. God arranged for epigenetic changes. The ants did the rest. Obvious.

What do you mean by “arranged for”? Did he preprogramme/dabble each individual change, or did he give ants and other organisms the means (cellular intelligence) of making the changes themselves?


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