The proponents of intelligent design believe that chance and selection are too casual and slow to allow complex new properties to arise. In particular, they argue that the intermediate steps in shuffling the genes to make something new are likely to scramble the existing system and be bad for the organism ("half an eye is bad for you").
The work, directed by Mark Isalan, leader of the group Gene Network Engineering and Luis Serrano, coordinator of the research programme Systems Biology and leader of the group Design of Biological Systems, from the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain, will be published tomorrow in the prestigious magazine Nature.
Although it’s true that it seems incredible that organisms could be able to face extreme mutation processes and gene reorganization, Isalan et al. show just that. This work describes a new method that links information networks in the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli that are not usually communicating with each other. Not only do most of the bacteria survive with the new transcription networks, but some gain new properties that allow them to do better than the original bacteria in extreme conditions. For example, some survive better at 50°C or have a longer lifespan after growing to maturity.
Organisms appear to have an innate capacity to allow evolution. This new and revolutionary methodology opens the door to a much more rapid evolution that offers multiple new phenotypes or properties.
This will have useful applications in biotechnology, for example in the production of biofuel from more efficient microorgansims. Ultimately, evolving cellular gene networks may allow the production of new properties in a wide variety of cells, with profound implications for human health.
Gloria Lligadas | alfa
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
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An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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