Scientists have found that prion proteins can evolve in response to changes in their environment, despite the fact that they have no DNA

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8435320.stm

Tags: evolution

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Replies to This Discussion

I don't know enough about it, but the news report made it sound like a significant finding. Prions are not bacteria, by the way and they have no RNA.
Prions evolving are significant because they are, in essence, only malfunctioning proteins. But they reproduce by finding other proteins of the same gene and causing them to malfunction as well. That is all they do. By destroying one type of protein like that, you don't have it anymore and get sick (and die).

What is amazing is that if they are evolving and changing protein targets, we now have a mechanism that they can sustain themselves in populations for the long term and be a tree of "life" of their own. They aren't just malfunctioning proteins, they are disease vectors that change to continue to infect.
Yes, well, there are RNA-only bacteria

No, there aren't. Not unless there has been a HUGE breakthrough in biology in the last few years. I think you meant RNA-only viruses.
The function of DNA isn't really different, it functions as the genetic material in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The packaging of the DNA is different, as are the evolutionary pressures due to population structures.
Another discussion was previously started over at the Origins group.
We are getting closer to solving the age old riddle, 'How did we get here?' Then we will be able to shame the creationists.
Please, the creationists were long ago shamed.
Somebody forgot to tell them that...
I think the defining characteristic of creationists is the inability to feel shame.
"getting closer"? We've already got it.

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