The Black Queen Hypothesis: New Evolutionary Theory!

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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 12:53 am » by Iamthatiam


Microorganisms can sometimes lose the ability to perform a function that appears to be necessary for their survival, and yet they still somehow manage to endure and multiply. How can this be? The authors of an opinion piece appearing in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on March 27 explain their ideas about the matter. They say microbes that shed necessary functions are getting others to do the hard work for them, an adaptation that can encourage microorganisms to live in cooperative communities.

The Black Queen Hypothesis, as they call it, puts forth the idea that some of the needs of microorganisms can be met by other organisms, enabling microbes that rely on one another to live more efficiently by paring down the genes they have to carry around. In these cases, it would make evolutionary sense for a microbe to lose a burdensome gene for a function it doesn't have to perform for itself. The authors, Richard Lenski and J. Jeffrey Morris of Michigan State University, and Erik Zinser of the University of Tennessee, named the hypothesis for the queen of spades in the game Hearts, in which the usual strategy is to avoid taking this card.

"It's a sweeping hypothesis for how free-living microorganisms evolve to become dependent on each other," says Richard Losick of Harvard University, who edited the paper. "The heart of the hypothesis is that many genetic functions provide products that leak in and out of cells and hence become public goods," he says.

As an illustration of the hypothesis, the authors apply it to one particular microbial system that has been a source of some confusion: one of the most common plankton species in the open ocean, Prochlorococcus, which has a much smaller genome than you might expect. Scientists have wondered how Prochlorococcus has managed to be extremely successful while shedding important genes, including the gene for catalase-peroxidase, which allows it to neutralize hydrogen peroxide, a compound that can damage or even kill cells. Prochlorococcus relies on the other microorganisms around it to remove hydrogen peroxide from the environment, say the authors, allowing it to fob off its responsibilities on the unlucky card holders around it. This is an instance of how one species can profit from paring down while relying on other members of the community to help out.

Losick says the Black Queen Hypothesis offers a new way of looking at complicated, inter-dependent communities of microorganisms. "I have a special interest in how bacteria form biofilms, complex natural communities that often consist of many different kinds of bacteria. The Black Queen Hypothesis provides a valuable new way to think about how the members of these biofilm communities coevolved."


:arrow: CREDIT: ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2012)

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Radical New Theory of Evolution --"Could Turn Current Thinking on Its Head"

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Image credit: With thanks to the American Society for Microbiology

A new groundbreaking hypothesis counters popular evolutionary thinking that living organisms evolve by adding genes rather than discarding them.

The new theory --"Black Queen Hypothesis" --suggests some species are surviving by discarding genes and depending on other species "to play their hand.

According to the hypothesis, evolution pushes microorganisms to lose essential functions when there is another species around to perform them. This idea counters popular evolutionary thinking that living organisms evolve by adding genes rather than discarding them.
"A common assumption about evolution is that it is directed toward increasing complexity," said Erik Zinser, associate professor of microbiology at the University of Tennessee . "But we know from analysis of microbial genomes that some lineages trend toward decreasing complexity, exhibiting a net loss of genes relative to their ancestor."

Zinser and colleagues formed their theory after studying photosynthetic bacteria called Prochlorococcus.

"This marine microorganism continued to mystify us because it is the most common photosynthetic organism on Earth, but it is extremely difficult to grow in pure culture," Zinser said. "A major reason for this difficulty is that Prochlorococcus is very sensitive to reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide and relies on other bacteria to protect them by breaking down these toxic substances for them."

Prochlorococcus had once performed this function itself, but natural selection decided it was too costly, like carrying the Queen of Spades, and discarded this ability. Instead Prochlorococcus benefits from the hard work of others within its community allowing it to concentrate its energies elsewhere—such as multiplying.

The hypothesis offers a new way of looking at complicated, interdependent communities of microorganisms.

"We know that certain microbial activities, such as hydrogen peroxide scavenging, are 'leaky,' meaning their impacts extend beyond the cell and into the environment," Zinser said. "What the hypothesis suggests is that this leakiness can drive a community toward greater interdependence, even if some members are unwitting participants in this process."

This interdependence could lend itself to vulnerabilities. The scientists say the work highlights the importance of biological diversity, because if rare members are lost, "the consequences for the community could be disastrous." This would be analogous to attempting to play Hearts without the Queen of Spades.

Currently, the hypothesis is limited to microorganisms, but Zinser thinks the hypothesis could be extended to larger free-living organisms. All that is needed is a card which no player wants yet is crucial for the game to be played.

Zinser's opinion piece is published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Jeffrey Morris and Richard Lenski of Michigan State University are co-authors.

The image at the top of page is a a surface-rendered model of Prochlorococcus, which was visualized by cryo-electron tomography in a near-native state. Its streamlined structure could be advantageous to microorganisms thriving in the low-nutrient conditions characteristic of large regions of the open oceans and thus have consequences for niche differentiation.


:arrow: CREDIT: The Daily Galaxy
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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 1:02 am » by Iamthatiam


Im awaiting your input on this one, Constabul ! :flop:
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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 5:59 am » by Constabul


Think a lot is a matter of perspective.

Even tho they site the shedding of components of the genome as being counter to evolutionary understanding. We have seen it in more then just microorganisms.
Example of this would be hominids Vs humans.
Humans have 23 pair.. 46 chromosomes
Hominids have more, generally 48,....
Like humans in some cases can have more then 46, due to mutation.
More does not mean higher evolutionary scale. While humans have 46, goldfish have 94, and toucan has 106.

When considering the article from my understanding. It is like viewing the components of Blood.
It would be like having platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. Each serve a separate purpose that complements a whole. If you introduced a new element into the mix that did the infection fighting action the white blood cells did, the need and production of them would decrease and likely cease all together given time. You could view it as White blood cells do not carry 02 and C02, so in essence it is shedding off possible responsibility to the red blood cells.

So in viewing the Prochlorococcus, when reading it got a similar impression. Much like the human body is the environment for blood, the ocean is the environment/body for the Prochlorococcus. It is evolving to a balance of its surroundings.

This discarding actually works in the benefit of those trying to purpose the ape to man theory, as we have less chromosomes as do apes, or hominids of various periods.
Yet we view ourselves as "more" advanced, genetically. With the idea of a linear track of development. Could be completely different, while retaining much of the current discoveries that lead us to the contemporary view of evolution.

I do not think it is as much a constant increase of complexity, as mush as it is balance.
On a microorganism level, they are functioning as part of a whole. individualized tasked, even with a series of tasks, but they are working together with other organisms to create balance. (I also think a misconception of what "survival of the fittest" is, comes into play in this regard.)

One could take this idea to a whole new level of how humans create chaos through imbalance. Eventually leading to environmental and species destruction. Without proper balance it all falls apart. Depending on circumstances depends on the speed at which that happens.
As the environment "evolves" it too changes.
It is a matter of viewing the planet as a living entity.

When in evolution did we no longer need a tail for actual physical balance, and develop feet, formed properly enough to accomplish this task for us. One can not say this was not there, as in some instances some people are still born with the beginning formation of a tail. We obviously have discarded the need for such things, yet the formula/components is still there.

I could sum up the meaning of the whole article and hypothesis in one word.
Homeostasis
Which gives a good example to view the information by.

They mention "free-living" microorganisms, but really they are all already interdependent on one another. Without plants or animals, there would be no food and we would not be. We depend on a balance, in most, if not all things, and I think this balance is what drives much of evolution, not survival of the fittest. It is just a by product that will eventually even itself out.

Vary cool read, with the possibility of a new trend in understanding the processes of growth, evolution and balance with the environment.

Not sure if i took that in the direction you were thinking IAM, Thanks for the link
:flop:
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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 8:01 am » by Constabul


Taking this a bit further, Viewing not only this planet as a living entity, but others too. In that it provided a platform for energy to manifest and be recycled. Not in the same ways all the times but for differing factors and circumstances.

A Quote from a different thread with similar implications,

constabul wrote:I remember a snip it from a video i saw some time ago, that started out beyond the milky way, and slowly zoomed in, eventually reaching earth, it continued to zoom, till it reached a human, and then further zoomed into the skin layers to with cellular and atomic scales. Then it may have even zoomed back out to the universe.

While we think we are big things, and a skyscraper is a big building, we at times start to get a realization of how small we are in comparison to other things, then think of earth as compared to the sun, or the sun compared to the galaxy, or the galaxy compared to millions of other galaxies in the universe. We can reverse that too, to where we are indeed big things compared to the bacteria or microbes that inhabit our bodies, where our limbs, or our abdomen then become galaxies to these microbes and bacteria. Not mentioning the bacteria or microbes that other people carry, or animals. All living in their own universes, till someone bumps uglys, or trades hemoglobin, or some other body fluid and in a way, is a big bang, and now new microbes and bacteria enter a new universe, new matter, new beginnings. All on this microscopic level.

Now thinking back to the universe, being a body, new scientific study and theory envision a bubble like structure, interacting with many other bubble like structures in a much larger space. Which is really hard for most to even conceive, as many can not even envision what a trillion dollars stacked up looks like. So the contact, or bumping uglys is not some spontaneous spring into existence from nothing, but more an interaction with already existing universes. The contact of the membranes cause a "explosion" of matter. On some scales, on others it was not even registrable. To form all matter in the universe that we can observe, but much more is floating about in the "multiverse" Much like to bacteria there are other suitable or similar beings beyond the universe(body) they are in, And from your finger to your toes is an unimaginable journey that could never be undertaken in the lifetime of the bacteria, jump into an vein, and then that becomes a wormhole to travel to distance parts of the universe(body).

At this point, trying to claim "There is a creator/creators" to all of this, is premature in our current level of understanding and knowledge. In the last couple hundred years we have come leaps and bounds in understanding but are still lifetimes away from any real grasp of any of it.
Just because you have a corner piece of a jigsaw puzzle does not mean you have figured out the whole puzzle. Those that claim as such are* selling you a line of self importance and self comfort. No one really knows, or will figure it out any time soon. Even if someone may have three pieces put together is only amounts to a small segment that is likely not in full context to the puzzle.

:alien:



It I think all goes to some level of balance. Think this is played out in many mythologies where you have the paradigm of good and evil, god and satan blah and blah. Yin, Yang. Positive and negative.

And while we are the center piece of our own and others Egos, we only barely grasp the enormity and almost unexplainable nature of the universe, evolution, life, and the Importance of the finite to infinite. We largly fail to see the infinite nature of the finite perspective, to us it is small, and just a bit of a larger whole, when on some levels it is another "whole" on to itself to other components of it.

And it is a marvel to have humans that develop ways in which to test these ideas and study the information we can. We may talk about it, or muse over it, but these individuals actually devise ways to advance this knowledge( Objective observation ) verses religions or the like that use the opposite ( subjective Observation ).
Certainly philosophic musing has its place for not only creativeness, but logic too, which balances that metaphysical creativeness.

We are likely a universe the size of a cell, as the cell is to the human body. In comparison to the universe to the larger multiverse. While all existence we perceive seemingly is the by product of the membranes touching and causing the "big bang" forming all "observable" matter(and unseen). There is largely more at work then we can even imagine at this point.

I am doubtful that a microorganism confronted with the presence of a television with a football/soccer game on, would even begin to realize it was there, let along the meaning of it all. Start throwing parallel universes and multiple universes, and anti matter doppelgangers into the mix and it turns into a wild ride. Most theoretical, but some with actual studies and findings to support such ideas, or be expressed in a mathematical fashion.
You then turn to DNA mutation and evolution of the possibilities that are able to be purposed in the way of genetic alterations to actual evolutionary changes. Will the next step be natural or engineered.
Evolution is a cool, and vary difficult subject to wrap ones head around, but evolution is more inclusive of many aspects of existence other then just human, or all life on the planet.

So much as many small things affect large things, so do the large with the small. The moon effects tides and some muse other things. As do the rest of the planets and all other matter and forces. Battling for balance.

Much like Prochlorococcus is dependent on other bacteria to break down harmful substances it comes in contact with. Battling for balance.

It could, shed aspects and depending on the course of things gain some back, or drop things again later. (The Prochlorococcus)
I've tied a couple subjects / threads together in this. Expanding to quickly.

:peep:

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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 10:51 am » by Mediasorcerer


sounds like they have "rediscovered" the ancients Gaiea theory once again.
with the power of soul,anything is possible
with the power of you,anything that you wanna do

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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 3:18 pm » by Fatdogmendoza


Thanks Iam and constabul..You have both provided interesting posts to digest... Its almost slavery at a Microbiological level....Imagine scaling this up to a human level...How would the physiology of the alleged elite and aristocracy have evolved....
Canubis wrote:slith dont b A noob.. u r my no 1 mo fo

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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 11:17 pm » by Iamthatiam


constabul wrote:I could sum up the meaning of the whole article and hypothesis in one word.
Homeostasis
Which gives a good example to view the information by.
:flop:


:D None direction meant here...I know this is your cup of tea; being so, I wanted to understand more about this article I found...

You provided me a key word, which was perfect, since my mind works better with symbols and key words! Im the one thanking, my friend :flop:

Let me ask you something based on this: There, inside this Homeostatic scenario, might have interchanges of information happening on many different levels, which levels you believe these to be? Considering differences between Atomic / Sub-Atomic, for example!

I just want your opinion!

:cheers:
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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 11:19 pm » by Iamthatiam


fatdogmendoza wrote:How would the physiology of the alleged elite and aristocracy have evolved....


"Nitrogen" :mrgreen:

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PostThu Apr 05, 2012 11:24 pm » by Iamthatiam


mediasorcerer wrote:sounds like they have "rediscovered" the ancients Gaiea theory once again.


Can you imagine that, MDS, modern science is exponentialy digging the knowledge aquired thousands of years ago?! The Million Dollars question: From where this knowledge came at that point? :think:
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PostFri Apr 06, 2012 3:25 am » by Constabul


iamthatiam wrote:
constabul wrote:I could sum up the meaning of the whole article and hypothesis in one word.
Homeostasis
Which gives a good example to view the information by.
:flop:


:D None direction meant here...I know this is your cup of tea; being so, I wanted to understand more about this article I found...

You provided me a key word, which was perfect, since my mind works better with symbols and key words! Im the one thanking, my friend :flop:

Let me ask you something based on this: There, inside this Homeostatic scenario, might have interchanges of information happening on many different levels, which levels you believe these to be? Considering differences between Atomic / Sub-Atomic, for example!

I just want your opinion!

:cheers:


Chemistry is my fathers cup of tea, but initially i would lean towards this happening on that level. As Prochlorococcus are relying on other bacteria to preform a function, that the article kind of eludes to it once preforming its self. It now has become reliant upon this other source to handle this issue. I can only assume this is a symbiotic relationship of sorts, in that the Prochlorococcus likely fills in a function for the other microbes etc. Which on a vary basic level is communication through chemicals.

Being we as humans have developed fairly complex methods of communication, we tend to over look more simplistic ways, as well as more "primitive" methods.
That are commonly used in the animal kingdom. Empathy, posturing, hormones, and even some lesser forms of telepathy are all present, and on a chemical level this is happening too.
It may or may not be what we deem organized, or complex thought. So they might not be discussing politics or religion, But we do know the communication is happening.
Where does this begin and end, in the finite to grandiose scale... Who knows.

That would be my first impression. Without really delving into any specific material.

Going to fairly busy over the next couple days. will look back as i can, and maybe try to expand upon the idea of atomic and subatomic examples.

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