Had to share because of the quotes below. For their next trick, rotifers will…?
“This is very unusual and has not been previously reported,” Arkhipova said. “Horizontally transferred genes are thought to preferentially be operational genes, not regulatory genes. It is hard to imagine how a single, horizontally transferred gene would form a new regulatory system, because the existing regulatory systems are already very complicated.”
“It’s almost unbelievable,” said co-first author Irina Yushenova, a research scientist in Arkhipova’s lab.
Yushenova explained how this process would have occurred: “Just try to picture, somewhere back in time, a piece of bacterial DNA happened to be fused to a piece of eukaryotic DNA. Both of them became joined in the rotifer’s genome and they formed a functional enzyme. That’s not so easy to do, even in the lab, and it happened naturally. And then this composite enzyme created this amazing regulatory system, and bdelloid rotifers were able to start using it to control all these jumping transposons. It’s like magic.”
There’s no mention in the article of efficiency. Jamming together two unrelated sequences is indeed a kludge. And wouldn’t the just so story be “God did it”? Several of Kipling’s stories do feature divine intervention; I remember in particular the kangaroo story (three gods, a trinity!) and the crab story.
As they are resistant to radiation, rotifers will survive the coming nuclear war, and over the next half billion years evolve to sentient beings who insist everything is only six thousand years old and that no kind can ever evolve to another.
What I thought was it was just another problem with the predictions of evolutionary theory. HGT seems rather problematic here - and that’s an understatement. I thought it was interesting that the scientists here researched this and yet still say it’s “like magic.” (They are committed enough to evolutionary theory to create a just-so story.) Even though problems with homology have been found and will continue to be found.
Sure. That transposons don’t proliferate in rotifers.
“God did it” doesn’t purport to be a natural explanation.
But also I shared because I thought the science was really cool
I have experienced magic. Being a guy who previously took children to be a duty and a checkmark, I was completely unprepared for the overwhelming tidal wave experience of the moment of fatherhood. But even then never did I doubt that it was fully explicable in terms of biology, and that I will leave there. I find life to be magical, the processes of life to be no less so. I read in amazement developmental biology; the making of a baby from a single cell with differentiation controlled by gradients of chemical and molecular signaling. “This works???” But it does.
When a journal published paper titled “Magic Identified as the Mechanism of Genetic Change” is recognized as the seminal insight of the decade, you would have something. As an expression of awe, unbelievable and magical may be somewhat exuberant, but fall within usage. At times, I have found it unbelievable when another member of the team merely delivered on their task.
"Magical Rotifers" was a breakfast cereal developed by General Mills in the early 1960’s and tested in just a few East Coast markets before being declared a dismal failure.
Nevertheless, the crunchy oat pieces were soon re-branded, recast as more traditional whimsical shapes, and the completely redesigned cereal box replaced the somewhat disturbing Roger the Rastafarian Rotifer™ with a mischievous but good-natured, fashion-conscious Irishman suffering from congenital hypothyroidism.
And as they say, the rest is history—and known to millions as Lucky Charms™.
The moral of the story: It pays to think both inside and outside of the box.
The second moral of the story: Intersectionalism must be weighed carefully when applied to the general consumer marketplace.
The third moral of the story: even the most fun depictions of pseudocoelomate zooplanktons and their kin tend to test poorly with focus groups.