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posted by martyb on Sunday October 16 2016, @08:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the light-fingered dept.

They took our genes:

About 100 million years ago, a lowly amoeba pulled off a stunning heist, grabbing genes from an unsuspecting bacterium to replace those it had lost. Now Rutgers and other scientists have solved the mystery of how the little amoeba, Paulinella, committed the theft. It engulfed the bacterium, kept that cell alive and harnessed its genes for photosynthesis, the process plants and algae use to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar via solar energy.

"The major finding of the study is the microbial world, which we know is full of valuable genes, can move these genes between organisms according to need," said Debashish Bhattacharya, a study co-author and distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers. "When a microbe has a gene deficit, it can in some cases fill that deficit by grabbing the same gene from the environment. This shows how fluid microbial genomes really are."

Gene transfers from diverse bacteria compensate for reductive genome evolution in the chromatophore of Paulinella chromatophora (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608016113) (DX)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:04AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:04AM (#414813)

    How likely it is for a number of such organisms to incorporate a number of that other organisms in a way so that the gene deficiency is covered? Can there be traces of the borked tries or the short term steps in other directions, or is the selection of fossils too limited? if so, what about now? are there traces of evolutionary borked tries or short term steps in different directions?

    Because such news make Lamarck sound like he had a point after all.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Bot on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:23AM

    by Bot (3902) on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:23AM (#414816) Journal

    About 126 billion milliseconds ago, a lowly blob of C pulled off a stunning heist, grabbing userland from an unsuspecting GNU/Linux system to replace the cash flow it had lost once that system started becoming actually easy to maintain. Now Rutgers and other scientists have solved the mystery of how the not so little blob, Poetterella, committed the theft. It engulfed the PID 1, kept the kernel kind of going and harnessed its syscalls for encapsulation and never finished protocol alterations, the process commercial programmers use to convert perfectly working systems into cash via support contracts.

    "The major finding of the study is the systems programming world, which we know is full of valuable geniuses, cannot move these geniuses between projects according to need," said DeBASHit Betchyaabeer, a study co-author and distinguished professor in the Department of Economy, Character Assassination and Mafia Style Political Pressure at Rutgers. "When a software house has cash deficit, it can in some cases fill that deficit by grabbing the same programmer from the highly praised pulseaudio software stack. This shows how fluid manager ethics really are.

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    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:30AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:30AM (#414818)

      Best systemd troll ever.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Bot on Sunday October 16 2016, @02:39PM

        by Bot (3902) on Sunday October 16 2016, @02:39PM (#414860) Journal

        > systemd troll
        Let me just settle for second place, after Poettering himself.

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        Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by b on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:24AM

    by b (2121) on Sunday October 16 2016, @09:24AM (#414817)

    Probably just a poor summary, but this is how *all* eukaryotes (i.e. non-bacteria) gained photosynthesis. This includes all plants. Originally, a single-celled organism engulfed a photosynthetic bacterium, which eventually became a chloroplast. This organism evolved into green algae, then plants.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17 2016, @05:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17 2016, @05:58AM (#415111)

      This happened 100 to 200 million years ago. Every other chloroplast is descended from one that got grabbed 1 to 1.5 billion years ago.

      It's hard to study the situation with normal chloroplasts because so much has changed. The original pair of organisms bear little relationship to anything alive today, separate-living or together. With a more recent event, we can find related species. We can usefully compare them.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18 2016, @05:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18 2016, @05:34AM (#415551)

      Q: Wikipedia link or it didn't happen?!

      A: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiogenesis [wikipedia.org]

      Pretty funky stuff, agreed.

    • (Score: 2) by Rivenaleem on Tuesday October 18 2016, @10:16AM

      by Rivenaleem (3400) on Tuesday October 18 2016, @10:16AM (#415607)

      Oh my god, it's just like the Matrix. We should free the bacterium!

  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Sunday October 16 2016, @11:38AM

    by RamiK (1813) on Sunday October 16 2016, @11:38AM (#414833)

    that particular gene-sequence and will now proceed to take legal action and sue their multicellular asses for their lost revenues.

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    compiling...
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16 2016, @12:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16 2016, @12:36PM (#414844)

    Just the other night, my wife engulfed me and harnessed my genes in her mouth, in the process converting protein into CO2.