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Not mutations in genes, or even mutations in regulatory DNA, but the real drivers of evolution may be jumping genes and epigenetics evolving together.
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Remarkably, bacteria seem to create virus like particles, a piece of DNA or RNA and a protein, with a mechanism to transfer them. One very dramatic mechanism is called the secretion IV systems, and appears like a syringe, almost identical to the phage virus, in order to inject DNA into another cell. With this mechanism, after packing and stuffing the syringe, they can shoot a piece of DNA to another cell.
Some bacteria, under threatening condition, can create their own phage viruses with the purpose of killing another microbe. One study showed that E. Faecalis makes many phage viruses to kill off other competitors.
Multiple posts have shown that microbes demonstrate decision making, group communication, even altruism, and have a primitive form of consciousness. A post on viruses shows that viruses also show primitive cognitive processes. Symbiosis has been seen to be ubiquitous in microbes and now with microbes and higher order cells, in eukaryotes basic structure. It is not unreasonable to suppose that this symbiosis occurs also with viruses, viroids, and bacteria.
But, what are viruses? They are strands of RNA or DNA with protein coatings.
What are jumping genes? They are pieces of DNA with the same associated protein enzymes that are needed to copy themselves and move.
Jumping genes in our chromosomes are in fact, similar to viruses. They are a strand of DNA with associated proteins and enzymes to move and copy themselves just as viruses are. If viruses have a form of cognition, then what about pieces of DNA in our genome that are the major driving forces of evolution?
- See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/jumping-genes-versus-epigenetics-the-real-drivers-of-evolution#sthash.Sm0GSIP1.dpuf