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Resurrecting a 500 million year old gene

From “Giving Ancient Life Another Chance to Evolve: Scientists Place 500-Million-Year-Old Gene in Modern Organism”(ScienceDaily, July 11, 2012), we learn,

Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action.

“This is as close as we can get to rewinding and replaying the molecular tape of life,” said scientist Betül Kaçar, a NASA astrobiology postdoctoral fellow in Georgia Tech’s NASA Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution. “The ability to observe an ancient gene in a modern organism as it evolves within a modern cell allows us to see whether the evolutionary trajectory once taken will repeat itself or whether a life will adapt following a different path.”

What happened?

“The altered organism wasn’t as healthy or fit as its modern-day version, at least initially,” said Gaucher, “and this created a perfect scenario that would allow the altered organism to adapt and become more fit as it accumulated mutations with each passing day.”

The growth rate eventually increased and, after the first 500 generations, the scientists sequenced the genomes of all eight lineages to determine how the bacteria adapted. Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.

When the researchers looked closer, they noticed that every EF-Tu gene did not accumulate mutations. Instead, the modern proteins that interact with the ancient EF-Tu inside of the bacteria had mutated and these mutations were responsible for the rapid adaptation that increased the bacteria’s fitness. In short, the ancient gene has not yet mutated to become more similar to its modern form, but rather, the bacteria found a new evolutionary trajectory to adapt.

In other words, it’s not clear that anything dramatic happened, but some people have been following bacteria for tens of thousands of generations, and that might be a next step here.

Surely they are on the right track in this respect: To develop possible scenarios for origin of life or the cell, researchers must attempt to create them in the lab. Arguing about whether montmorillonite or silica actually played a role in the origin of life way back when is arguing over subjects the truth of which may never be possible to know.

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3 Responses to Resurrecting a 500 million year old gene

  1. 500myo genetic material? …hmmmm…

  2. Modern day bacteria which have had mutations to become resistant to antibiotics are well known for their inability to pass what is termed a ‘fitness test’ against a non-mutated strain of bacteria. i.e. The mutated strain is less robust for survival than the the non-mutated strain. This fact is one fact that has argued very strongly against Darwinian evolution since no one can seem to find any examples of complexity increasing above what is already present in the bacteria. Which is what makes this following finding very interesting. Modern day bacteria which were implanted with a ancient 500 million year old ‘resurrected’ gene are more found to be more fit than their modern day counterparts!

    Giving Ancient Life Another Chance to Evolve: Scientists Place 500-Million-Year-Old Gene in Modern Organism – July 11, 2012
    Excerpt: The growth rate eventually increased and, after the first 500 generations, the scientists sequenced the genomes of all eight lineages to determine how the bacteria adapted. Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.
    When the researchers looked closer, they noticed that every EF-Tu gene did not accumulate mutations. Instead, the modern proteins that interact with the ancient EF-Tu inside of the bacteria had mutated and these mutations were responsible for the rapid adaptation that increased the bacteria’s fitness. In short, the ancient gene has not yet mutated to become more similar to its modern form, but rather, the bacteria found a new evolutionary trajectory to adapt.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....100726.htm

    Now the burning question that Darwinists will never ask is, of course, why are the modern genes adjusting to the information that the ancient 500 million year old gene had provided to the bacteria, to increase the fitness of the bacteria, instead of the other way around of the older gene changing to ‘catch up’ to the more evolved modern strain??? This evidence clearly is evidence of Genetic Entropy (deterioration) of the genes of modern bacteria, not evolution, since the modern strains of bacteria only ‘regained’ fitness over and above what they started out as once ‘non-deteriorated’ ancient genetic information was added to the genome of the bacteria!

    Related notes on ancient 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 counterparts. “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

    AMBER: THE LOOKING GLASS INTO THE PAST:
    Excerpt: These (fossilized bacteria) cells are actually very similar to present day cyanobacteria. This is not only true for an isolated case but many living genera of cyanobacteria can be linked to fossil cyanobacteria. The detail noted in the fossils of this group gives indication of extreme conservation of morphology, more extreme than in other organisms.
    http://bcb705.blogspot.com/200.....st_23.html

    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

    Evolutionists were so disbelieving at this stunning lack of change, far less change than was expected from the neo-Darwinian view, that they insisted the stunning similarity was due to modern contamination in Vreeland’s experiment. Yet the following study laid that objection to rest by verifying that Dr. Vreeland’s methodology for extracting ancient DNA was solid and was not introducing contamination because the DNA sequences this time around were completely unique:

    World’s Oldest Known DNA Discovered (419 million years old) – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: But the DNA was so similar to that of modern microbes that many scientists believed the samples had been contaminated. Not so this time around. A team of researchers led by Jong Soo Park of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, found six segments of identical DNA that have never been seen before by science. “We went back and collected DNA sequences from all known halophilic bacteria and compared them to what we had,” Russell Vreeland of West Chester University in Pennsylvania said. “These six pieces were unique”,,,
    http://news.discovery.com/eart.....vered.html

    These following studies, by Dr. Cano on ancient bacteria, preceded Dr. Vreeland’s work:

    “Raul J. Cano and Monica K. Borucki discovered the bacteria preserved within the abdomens of insects encased in pieces of amber. In the last 4 years, they have revived more than 1,000 types of bacteria and microorganisms — some dating back as far as 135 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs.,,, In October 2000, another research group used many of the techniques developed by Cano’s lab to revive 250-million-year-old bacteria from spores trapped in salt crystals. With this additional evidence, it now seems that the “impossible” is true.”
    http://www.physicsforums.com/s.....p?t=281961

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    Dr. Cano and his former graduate student Dr. Monica K. Borucki said that they had found slight but significant differences between the DNA of the ancient, 25-40 million year old amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart,(thus ruling out that it is a modern contaminant, yet at the same time confounding materialists, since the change is not nearly as great as evolution’s ‘genetic drift’ theory requires.)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5213/1060

    Dr. Cano’s work on ancient bacteria came in for intense scrutiny since it did not conform to Darwinian predictions, and since people found it hard to believe you could revive something that was millions of years old. Yet Dr. Cano has been vindicated:

    “After the onslaught of publicity and worldwide attention (and scrutiny) after the publication of our discovery in Science, there have been, as expected, a considerable number of challenges to our claims, but in this case, the scientific method has smiled on us. There have been at least three independent verifications of the isolation of a living microorganism from amber.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-357693

    In reply to a personal e-mail from myself, Dr. Cano commented on the ‘Fitness Test’ I had asked him about:

    Dr. Cano stated: “We performed such a test, a long time ago, using a panel of substrates (the old gram positive biolog panel) on B. sphaericus. From the results we surmised that the putative “ancient” B. sphaericus isolate was capable of utilizing a broader scope of substrates. Additionally, we looked at the fatty acid profile and here, again, the profiles were similar but more diverse in the amber isolate.”:
    Fitness test which compared ancient bacteria to its modern day descendants, RJ Cano and MK Borucki

  3. Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria. This following study concurs the pattern of genetic entropy:

    Professor’s hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory – April 2012
    Excerpt: “According to the hypothesis, evolution pushes microorganisms to lose essential functions when there is another species around to perform them. This idea counters popular evolutionary thinking that living organisms evolve by adding genes rather than discarding them.,,
    “A common assumption about evolution is that it is directed toward increasing complexity,” said Erik Zinser, associate professor of microbiology. “But we know from analysis of microbial genomes that some lineages trend toward decreasing complexity, exhibiting a net loss of genes relative to their ancestor.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....onary.html

    Here is a video of the ‘Fitness Test’ that evolutionary processes have NEVER passed as for a demonstration of the generation of functional complexity/information above what was already present in a parent species bacteria:

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

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

    Antibiotic resistance is ancient – September 2011
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....E-20110922

    See also:

    Genetic Entropy – Dr. John Sanford – Evolution vs. Reality – video (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/35088933

    It is also extremely interesting to note, the principle of Genetic Entropy, a principle which stands in direct opposition of the primary claim of neo-Darwinian evolution, lends itself quite well to mathematical analysis by computer simulation:

    Using Computer Simulation to Understand Mutation Accumulation Dynamics and Genetic Load:
    Excerpt: We apply a biologically realistic forward-time population genetics program to study human mutation accumulation under a wide-range of circumstances.,, Our numerical simulations consistently show that deleterious mutations accumulate linearly across a large portion of the relevant parameter space.
    http://bioinformatics.cau.edu......aproof.pdf
    MENDEL’S ACCOUNTANT: J. SANFORD†, J. BAUMGARDNER‡, W. BREWER§, P. GIBSON¶, AND W. REMINE
    http://mendelsaccount.sourceforge.net

    Whereas, neo-Darwinian evolution has no rigorous mathematical foundation with which we can rigorously analyze it in any computer simulation; in any supposed ‘Evolutionary Algorithm’ (much less in real time in life):

    Refutation of Evolutionary Algorithms
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1h33EC4yg29Ve59XYJN_nJoipZLKIgupT6lBtsaVQsUs

    Accounting for Variations – Dr. David Berlinski: – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE

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