Home » Ecology, horizontal gene transfer, News » Ancient bacteria resisted antibiotics they’d never met – jumping genes implicated

Ancient bacteria resisted antibiotics they’d never met – jumping genes implicated

File:Actinomyces israelii.jpg

Actinomyces israelii

In “Antibiotic resistance found in ancient bacteria” (CBC News, Aug 31, 2011),
Emily Chung reports,
The same genes that make disease-causing bacteria resistant to today’s antibiotics have been found in soil bacteria that have remained frozen since woolly mammoths roamed the Earth.

“We’ve shown for the first time that drug resistance is a really old phenomenon and it’s part of the natural ecology of the planet,” said Gerard Wright, a biochemist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

Five years ago, Wright had discovered harmless soil bacteria, Actinobacteria, that showed resistance to antibiotics (not, presumably, directed at them).
He then sought bacteria that had never been exposed to human efforts against microbes.

Geologist Duane Forese suggested taking soil samples from under a layer of volcanic ash deposited in the Yukon (far north) 30,000 years ago. They found Actinobacteria, that showed the same resistance.

Wright points out that these Actinobacteria are our usual source of the antibiotics:

“They make probably 80 per cent of the drugs that are currently used today – they also make anti-cancer agents, they make immune suppressants, they are remarkable, remarkable little chemists.”

Indeed? Well, someone is, anyway.

Actinobacteria seem to have needed, from time to time, to fend off the unfriendly advances of other bacteria. But how did their talent travel?

That antibiotic resistance likely jumped from the soil bacteria to disease-causing bacteria.

You mean, it was due to jumping genes, not Darwinian evolution?

Remember when failure to believe that Darwinian evolution is the cause of antibiotic resistence was supposed to endanger the nation’s health? Quaint.

See also: A message from so-called Denyse O’Leary

Horizontal Gene Transfer and the Evolution of Evolution: You Can’t Make This Up

HGT unseating Darwin

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7 Responses to Ancient bacteria resisted antibiotics they’d never met – jumping genes implicated

  1. This ‘ancient antibiotic resistance’ in frozen bacteria has been documented before:

    Evolution Tested and Falsified – Dr. Don Patton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036803/

    Further notes:

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘The Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    Thank Goodness the NCSE Is Wrong: Fitness Costs Are Important to Evolutionary Microbiology
    Excerpt: it (an antibiotic resistant bacterium) reproduces slower than it did before it was changed. This effect is widely recognized, and is called the fitness cost of antibiotic resistance. It is the existence of these costs and other examples of the limits of evolution that call into question the neo-Darwinian story of macroevolution.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....s_wro.html

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.(that is a net ‘fitness gain’ within a ‘stressed’ environment i.e. remove the stress from the environment and the parent strain is always more ‘fit’)
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” (250 Million Year Old) Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

    Incredibly Moving Performance by Wynonna Judd – I Can Only Imagine – Music Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F9E12FNU

  2. Horizontal Gene Transfer is Darwinian! Darwin’s theory was that organisms vary and natural selection chooses the most fit. Darwin knew nothing of DNA or even of genes. All he knew was that organisms varied, he had no idea of what caused it.

    That is a neat way of defeating evolution, though. Redefine it and then show that your definition is false. Waterloo!

  3. dmullenix, please tell me, was it the whales who decided to ‘horizontally transfer’ the genes for echolocation to bats, or was it bats that decided to ‘horizontally transfer’ the genes for echolocation to whales?,,, and Did they use e-mail, or cell phone, to convey their need for echolocation to each other???

    Common Design in Bat and Whale Echolocation Genes? – January 2011
    Excerpt: two new studies in the January 26th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....42291.html

    Bat and Whale Echolocation Genes Point to Common Design – February 2011 – Podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_16-08_00

    Convergence Drives Evolution Batty – Fazale Rana – September 2010
    Excerpt: The multiple, independent origin of echolocation in these animals (twice in bats and once in toothed whales) exemplifies convergence,,, When examined from an evolutionary perspective, convergence doesn’t make much sense.,,, the latest research demonstrates that—again, from an evolutionary perspective—the genetic and biochemical changes that account for the emergence of echolocation in bats and dolphins is identical. Given the random nature of the evolutionary process, this recent discovery doesn’t match what evolutionary biologists would expect to find. But both the discovery and convergence make sense if life stems from the work of a Creator.
    http://www.reasons.org/converg.....tion-batty

    And dmullenix, as you well know this three card monte game of evoking wide spread horizontal gene transfer to explain why the same exact genes are in widely divergent species, does nothing to alleviate the problem, for neo-Darwinists, of explaining where the genes and proteins came from in the first place!!!,,, i.e. please tell me exactly when and where these genes and proteins for echolocation, or for anything else, first evolved;

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Could Chance Arrange the Code for (Just) One Gene?
    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/epoi_c10.htm

    “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds” 2004: – Doug Axe ,,,this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.”
    http://www.mendeley.com/resear.....yme-folds/

    Widespread ORFan Genes Challenge Common Descent – Paul Nelson – video with references
    http://www.vimeo.com/17135166

    Further notes:

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Bat Evolution? – No Transitional Fossils! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6003501/

  4. dmullenix, you seem to have missed the point that Darwinism is not here creating any new information, as Darwinists have claimed it could, for a century and a half, without demonstrating it. Now, we are discovering the true causes: Essentially, an existing machine is moved from one plant to another.

    No new machine is created, because that is not something natural selection can do. Darwin believed it could do that, but he was wrong. Just plain wrong.

    We don’t expect you to understand, because you need to believe.

  5. dmullenix, please tell me, was it the whales who decided to ‘horizontally transfer’ the genes for echolocation to bats, or was it bats that decided to ‘horizontally transfer’ the genes for echolocation to whales?,,, and Did they use e-mail, or cell phone, to convey their need for echolocation to each other???

    Common Design in Bat and Whale Echolocation Genes? – January 2011
    Excerpt: two new studies in the January 26th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....42291.html

    Bat and Whale Echolocation Genes Point to Common Design – February 2011 – Podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_16-08_00

    Convergence Drives Evolution Batty – Fazale Rana – September 2010
    Excerpt: The multiple, independent origin of echolocation in these animals (twice in bats and once in toothed whales) exemplifies convergence,,, When examined from an evolutionary perspective, convergence doesn’t make much sense.,,, the latest research demonstrates that—again, from an evolutionary perspective—the genetic and biochemical changes that account for the emergence of echolocation in bats and dolphins is identical. Given the random nature of the evolutionary process, this recent discovery doesn’t match what evolutionary biologists would expect to find. But both the discovery and convergence make sense if life stems from the work of a Creator.
    http://www.reasons.org/converg.....tion-batty

    And dmullenix, as you well know this three card monte game of evoking wide spread horizontal gene transfer to explain why the same exact genes are in widely divergent species, does nothing to alleviate the problem, for neo-Darwinists, of explaining where the genes and proteins came from in the first place!!!,,, i.e. please tell me exactly when and where these genes and proteins for echolocation, or for anything else, first evolved;

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Could Chance Arrange the Code for (Just) One Gene?
    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/epoi_c10.htm

    “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds” 2004: – Doug Axe ,,,this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.”

    Widespread ORFan Genes Challenge Common Descent – Paul Nelson – video with references
    http://www.vimeo.com/17135166

    Further notes:

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Bat Evolution? – No Transitional Fossils! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6003501/

  6. Wow, dmullenix, in light of our discussion over on “The ID Hypothesis” thread, do you not see how damaging this discovery is to your evolutionist beliefs?

    The evidence that has been cited for evolution from bacteria turns out to be something that was pre-existing all along!

  7. Of related note to how widespread completely unique ORFan genes are:

    Estimating the size of the bacterial pan-genome – Pascal Lapierre and J. Peter Gogarten – 2008
    Excerpt: We have found >139 000 rare (ORFan) gene families scattered throughout the bacterial genomes included in this study. The finding that the fitted exponential function approaches a plateau indicates an open pan-genome (i.e. the bacterial protein universe is of infinite size); a finding supported through extrapolation using a Kezdy-Swinbourne plot (Figure S3). This does not exclude the possibility that, with many more sampled genomes, the number of novel genes per additional genome might ultimately decline; however, our analyses and those presented in Ref. [11] do not provide any indication for such a decline and confirm earlier observations that many new protein families with few members remain to be discovered.
    http://www.paulyu.org/wp-conte.....genome.pdf

    Also of related note to lack of any evidence for evolution for bacteria:

    Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago?
    Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial microbial. “They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species,” Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. “This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times,” says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found;
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....a014909330

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