Lynn Margulis has an interesting interview in Discover Magazine, where she puts forth symbiogenesis as the most important mechanism in marcoevolution.
I find her claims about AIDs implausible, to say the least.
Nonetheless, her arguments for symbiogenesis stand. I'd been aware of the way many organisms intertwined with others, but had never taken this to challenge evolution as tree shaped before. She's lead me to challenge much of what I'd taken for granted in evolution.
Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create.
The point is that evolution goes in big jumps.
Long-term symbiosis leads to new intracellular structures, new organs and organ systems, and new species as one being incorporates another being that is already good at something else. This major mode of evolutionary innovation has been ignored by the so-called evolutionary biologists.
The evolutionary biologists believe the evolutionary pattern is a tree. It’s not. The evolutionary pattern is a web—the branches fuse, like when algae and slugs come together and stay together.
From the very beginning the Russians said natural selection was a process of elimination and could not produce all the diversity we see. They understood that symbiogenesis was a major source of innovation,...
In 1924, this man Boris Mikhaylovich Kozo-Polyansky wrote a book called Symbiogenesis: A New Principle of Evolution, in which he reconciled Darwin’s natural selection as the eliminator and symbiogenesis as the innovator.
Sensory cilia did not come from random mutations. They came by acquiring a whole genome of a symbiotic bacterium that could already sense light or motion. Specifically, I think it was a spirochete [a corkscrew-shaped bacterium] that became the cilium.
If I’m right, the whole system—called the cytoskeletal system—came from the incorporation of ancestral spirochetes. Mitosis, or cell division, is a kind of internal motility system that came from these free-living, symbiotic, swimming bacteria.
Wow, seriously Ruth, this is way over my head, but I really enjoy reading these articles and posts and stretching my brain to learn new and seriously interesting things! I'm 45, and I don't ever want to just stop learning!~ Melinda
I'm a skeptic at heart, especially when it comes to stuff that's related to the scientific method of inquiry.
Symbiogenesis is nowhere close to being a well-established scientific theory.
He're a good counter read on the subject:
Lynn Margulis (1938-2011).
"The evolutionary pattern is a web—the branches fuse, like when algae and slugs come together and stay together."
"As the passing of the great biologist Dr. Lynn Margulis is mourned worldwide, let us not forget what she has done. The endosymbiotic theory was first proposed by her in the 1960’s. At first many were skeptical but when evidence turned up, it was accepted. Without it, our knowledge of cells would not be what it is."
~ Fractal Explorer
@Ruth: I have heard others question the role of HIV with AIDS. Can you define your thought of implausibility?
She's best known for her work eukaryotic cells and the endosymbiotic theory, but her assertions on symbiogenesis are far from well-founded. She also ran into quite a bit of controversy within the scientific community in recent years:
Oh yes! Margulis ran into a lot of controversy about her theory ... but so did
I could add more, but you get the idea. Now, that established, can you give reasons why "her assertions on symbiogenesis are far from well-founded." I don't know anything about biology.
"I greatly admire Lynn Margulis's sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I'm referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it."
~ Richard Dawkins
Jessica, thank you for this information. Certainly, the complexity of the disease and its social implications require more than opinion. There is a newscaster who adamantly declares there is no connection between HIV and AIDS. I haven't had a TV for several years and don't remember his name, however, if anyone knows of whom I speak, please invite him to check his sources.
I'm not familiar with the research, but the molecular structure of HIV is well known. I can't believe the original researchers failed to use standard protocols for verifying an agent as a cause of a disease. Nor is it plausible to me that so many scientists could fail to notice syphilis or another spirochete, even if it were usually in a dormant state. The genetic code would still be in infected cells even if the spirochete form were no longer maintained. To me that particular claim isn't plausible at all, that she looked for evidence and didn't find any.
What do you suppose was Margulis' motive for looking and not finding any?
The standard protocol for identifying an agent as the cause of a particular disease is to extract the disease agent from an infected animal, and then put the agent (and only that agent) into healthy animals, then extract same agent from them after they come down with the disease. If the HIV retrovirus can cause AIDS in healthy specimens, and then we find them full of that same retrovirus, that's fairly solid evidence. Perhaps they didn't do exactly this protocol because you can't experiment on human beings, but there are animal equivalents of HIV. There are so many AIDS researchers, working with so many different experimental designs. How could all of them have missed a spirochete? The only argument I saw in the article was that syphilis was the cause was that it has similar symptoms and can look like other diseases, which is superficial and not evidence of cause.
Her claim that the entire cytoskeleton evolved from spirochetes is far more plausible.
Thanks Ruth. What seems plausible to an uninformed one such as myself, and your clarity and Jessica's, and the Pauling effect from Lightnin' helps to understand why it is not something that stands up to scrutiny. I appreciate you all.