To the collected brainpower at PS:
One question much discussed here concerns whether the distribution of genes in Earth life is better explained by a nested hierarchy with a single root, or design. (These are not exclusive, of course, but let’s just take Tree of Life versus some ID pattern for the time being.) Design as a hypothesis in biological systematics suffers from being poorly articulated, or not articulated at all. Nonetheless, attempts are being made – e.g., Winston Ewert’s dependency graph proposal, some preliminary thought experiments by Eric Holloway [go to the BioLogos forum, Phylogenetic Signal threads] – to put something up for consideration.
Meanwhile, in research for a book I’m writing on common descent, I’ve been looking at the growing literature on eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Here are two recent papers:
One evidential dimension missing from these papers, but critical to forming Bayesian priors on eukaryotic HGT, is the actual mechanism of transfer.
HELP needed. Please, if you know of any experimental literature showing, in real time, the transfer of gene sequences from donor (either prokaryote or eukaryote) to host (eukaryote), let me know. I’ve asked a post-doc who should know, and he doesn’t know of any examples.
Thanks. Kindly post the citations in this thread.