Genome complexity: what genes do and don't do (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 13:12 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Cell cooperation is REQUIRED in organs. You just noted the fixed roles. The cells have a fixed set of requirements, which tells us they cannot change! You want them to think. That is the designer's role.

dhw: Of course it’s required, so why do you keep pooh-poohing it as “cell committees”? […] once an innovation has proved successful (and we have a new species), the cells MUST continue to play their fixed roles. Otherwise, the species won’t survive. “Thinking” comes into play when there are new problems or conditions to cope with. But you prefer to believe in your library and/or direct divine surgery.

DAVID: Again, I don't believe the large steps required in rearranging a species into a new one is simply cell adaptation. It requires a new design only a designer can create.

I have never said speciation was “simply cell adaptation”. But it is sometimes difficult to draw a borderline between adaptation and innovation, as in legs becoming flippers. And I have repeated ad nauseam that we do not know if cell communities can innovate (= take the necessary large steps), which is why my hypothesis is an unproven hypothesis, as is your own.

DAVID: Life must have its own operating system to interpreting the code and acting on the information contained in it.
[…]
dhw: I changed your wording because “life” doesn’t interpret or act. Organisms do that. You had switched from the source of life to what living organisms do, and your wording – “own operating system” to interpret and act – sounds more convincing to me than your belief that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every innovation etc. in the history of life.

DAVID: The use of 'life' or 'living organisms' is all the same to me, although your quibble is technically correct. My point is living organisms run on information stored in the genome, much of which had to be pre-programmed for life to have formed at all. Inorganic matter does not have functional information, which means as life started from the inorganic, information had to be GIVEN from someone.

Once again you scurry back to the origin of life, whereas my point is that living organisms do NOT run on information stored in the genome but – in your own words – they run on their “own operating system” for interpreting that information and acting on it. Information without the means to interpret and act on it would be no use to any organism. But having told us that organisms must have their own operating system, you still insist that they don’t – all their actions are apparently the result of your God’s dabbles or their automatic, non-interpreting, non-decision-making obedience to instructions passed down by the first living cells through 3.8 billion years’ worth of innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders.

Under “Bacterial antibiotic resistance

QUOTES: “No research to date has explained the underlying mechanisms of heteroresistance. “

A range of genetic investigations also enabled the researchers to show that the underlying mechanism of heteroresistance was often spontaneous occurrence of gene amplifications of various antibiotic resistance genes.”

These gene amplifications are unstable, and as a result, antibiotic-resistant bacteria can rapidly revert to susceptibility again. This instability makes heteroresistance difficult to detect and study[…]. Accordingly, bacteria can be classified as susceptible although they are actually resistant, and this may lead to use of the wrong antibiotic and failure of the treatment."

DAVID: As I've previously noted, many bacterial populations have a variety of resistant and non-resistant individuals, so that group will survive on their own without gene transfer, which is another mechanism.

Maybe the mechanism is not “spontaneous”, and maybe resistance/non-resistance depends on what you would call each bacterium’s “own operating system” for interpreting information and acting on it, i.e. “single cells change their metabolic pathways"… and “learn” and “create instructions on the hoof”, as proposed in the article you initially agreed with. The expansion of resistant bacteria would then take time because those bacteria which work out the solution to the new problems would have to pass on the new information.


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