autonomy v. automaticity; bacterias' role in evolution (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 25, 2018, 20:50 (146 days ago) @ David Turell

David: Bacteria and viruses are the ultimate survivors. They were there at the start of life and obviously were given the ability to survive against all odds in any wild environment the early Earth was going through, including the initial Early bombardment period. Think extremophiles. Later life does not have that innate capacity of survival given by God to the early forms so life could survive and evolve into us.

This article shows how bacteria play a major role in the entire process of evolution to produce multicellular animals:

"King’s discovery about choanoflagellates is just one of the latest insights into the intimate relationships between bacteria and animals (or, in this case, animal-like organisms). Historically, photosynthetic bacteria pumped oxygen into the oceans for billions of years, setting the stage for complex multicellular life. And according to the endosymbiotic theory, proposed in the 20th century and now widely accepted, the mitochondria inside every eukaryotic cell were once free-living bacteria. At some point more than a billion years ago, they took up residence inside other cells in a symbiotic relationship that endures in nearly every animal cell to this day. In their role as dinner, bacteria also likely provided raw genetic material for the first animals, which probably incorporated chunks of microbial DNA directly into their own genomes as they digested their meals.

"But the full story of the microbial-animal relationship is even broader and deeper, argues Margaret McFall-Ngai, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and it’s a story that is only beginning to be told. In her view, animals should rightly be considered host-microbe ecosystems. Several years ago McFall-Ngai, along with Hadfield, convened a broad group of developmental biologists, ecologists, environmental biologists and physiologists, including King, and asked them to formulate a microbial manifesto — a declaration of bacterial significance. The paper, which appeared late last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cites evidence from many corners of biology to argue that the influence of microbes on the origin, evolution and function of animals is pervasive and essential to understanding how animal life evolved. “They evolved in a world saturated with bacteria,” Hadfield said.

"The breadth and significance of the animal-bacteria relationship goes far beyond the development of a handful of ancient aquatic creatures like sponges. McFall-Ngai’s own research shows that bacteria are necessary for the development of organs in squid; others have found similar partnerships that shape the maturation of animal immune systems, the guts of zebra fish and mice, and even mammalian brains. Likewise, bacteria are essential partners in the digestive systems of creatures ranging from termites to humans. The influence of microbes is even inscribed on our genome: More than a third of human genes have their origins in bacteria. These and other new findings will soon fundamentally alter our understanding of life, McFall-Ngai predicts: “Biology is in a revolution.”

"So in the end, maybe animals really aren’t all that special. After all, they’d be nothing without their microbial friends."

Comment: Bacteria came first, survived easily and appear to be one of the major controlling mechanisms in the advance of evolution. I think God controls through the activities bacteria. I only presented the concluding paragraphs.

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