We all have alien DNA

Gene-swapping means you have alien DNA inside you
What if a gene from an insect insinuated itself straight into your DNA? What if more than a hundred genes from bacteria did? Would that make you some kind of horrible Franken-human?
No. It would make you exactly what you are today.
It turns out that genes are quite capable of hopping from one organism into a completely different species. Not only do these genes jump, but when they land in a new host they can actively change it. This can give the host species new abilities, sending it down a new evolutionary path. Even humans play host to alien genes, and it seems they have shaped our evolution.
Genes have to keep copying themselves into new hosts, or they will be destroyed when their current host dies.
Sometimes the genes get altered along the way. These changes, known as mutations, help ensure that the offspring are different to their parents. Over many generations, enough mutations can build up to create a whole new species – and in the long run, all the diversity of the natural world.The usual route is to pass straight down the generations. When you have children, you pass on some of your genes to them, and so those genes find a new host.
In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin laid out how this process of evolution works. He drew a sketch of a branching tree, where each new twig was a new species born of accumulated mutations. This is what biologists call the “tree of life”.
But there’s another way for genes to find a new host.
Sometimes a gene can jump directly from one organism to another organism, which might belong to a completely different species. This process is called horizontal gene transfer.
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150619-there-is-alien-dna-inside-you

Good article although it could have been better. I wish the author hadn’t anthropomorphized the genes as it misrepresents the driving force behind evolution and perpetuates a common misunderstanding among lay people ie. That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous. The fact that this process persists at all is not because genes are trying to survive but simply because the process allows them to survive.

That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous.
But, that attitude neatly dances around the fact that the drive of life (not just an individual organism) has been a relentless development towards ever more cognitive and motor skills. Hell now that chimpanzees have taken up drinking alcohol (the foundation of western society development) - who knows what the future holds http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/chimpanzees-bossou-south-eastern-guinea-habitual-drinking :cheese:
That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous.
But, that attitude neatly dances around the fact that the drive of life (not just an individual organism) has been a relentless development towards ever more cognitive and motor skills. Hell now that chimpanzees have taken up drinking alcohol (the foundation of western society development) - who knows what the future holds http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/chimpanzees-bossou-south-eastern-guinea-habitual-drinking :cheese: There is no drive of life. There are simply chemical reactions and environmental forces that select for one set of reactions over another. Sometimes that leads to greater cognitive abilities, and other times it leads to faster runners, higher flyers, or stickier barnacles. It's only by our own conceit that we believe there is a preferential drive toward the development of smarter organisms like ourselves.
There is no drive of life. There are simply chemical reactions and environmental forces that select for one set of reactions over another. Sometimes that leads to greater cognitive abilities, and other times it leads to faster runners, higher flyers, or stickier barnacles. It's only by our own conceit that we believe there is a preferential drive toward the development of smarter organisms like ourselves.
When you get down to it humans are simply homes for microorganisms, which vastly outnumber us and have been around far longer. Taking the long view intelligence may be a poor adaptation. The dinosaurs ruled Earth for tens of millions of years. We have been around for a few hundred thousand years and are on the brink of destroying ourselves.

Not arguing Darron, but no individual species of dinosaur was around that long. I forget the terms, but I think dinosaur is a “super species” or something like that, so you have to compare “dinosaur” to “hominid” (I think, you can check my work). When you compare equal groups to groups, we come out as one of the most successful animals ever. I think we’ll probably be around for a couple or few more thousand years, which is a pretty good run. The question is, will we populate other planets and increase our chances of evolving into something even more successful?

Not arguing Darron, but no individual species of dinosaur was around that long. I forget the terms, but I think dinosaur is a "super species" or something like that, so you have to compare "dinosaur" to "hominid" (I think, you can check my work). When you compare equal groups to groups, we come out as one of the most successful animals ever. I think we'll probably be around for a couple or few more thousand years, which is a pretty good run. The question is, will we populate other planets and increase our chances of evolving into something even more successful?
You're right, Lausten. T-Rex, for example, was around for two million years. Still a far sight better than we have done.
That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous.
But, that attitude neatly dances around the fact that the drive of life (not just an individual organism) has been a relentless development towards ever more cognitive and motor skills. Hell now that chimpanzees have taken up drinking alcohol (the foundation of western society development) - who knows what the future holds http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/chimpanzees-bossou-south-eastern-guinea-habitual-drinking :cheese: There is no drive of life. There are simply chemical reactions and environmental forces that select for one set of reactions over another. Sometimes that leads to greater cognitive abilities, and other times it leads to faster runners, higher flyers, or stickier barnacles. It's only by our own conceit that we believe there is a preferential drive toward the development of smarter organisms like ourselves. You're right, the only drive is for survival--whatever that entails. Lois
Good article although it could have been better. I wish the author hadn't anthropomorphized the genes as it misrepresents the driving force behind evolution and perpetuates a common misunderstanding among lay people ie. That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous. The fact that this process persists at all is not because genes are trying to survive but simply because the process allows them to survive.
Yes, it was quite low level. Maybe there are or will be others that are more sophisticated and informed. As for genes not trying to survive but that the process allows them to survive, isn't that the same thing? Genes can only survive if the conditions are right. They will take every opportunity, but they can't change the conditions. Lois
That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous.
But, that attitude neatly dances around the fact that the drive of life (not just an individual organism) has been a relentless development towards ever more cognitive and motor skills. Hell now that chimpanzees have taken up drinking alcohol (the foundation of western society development) - who knows what the future holds http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/chimpanzees-bossou-south-eastern-guinea-habitual-drinking :cheese: There is no drive of life. There are simply chemical reactions and environmental forces that select for one set of reactions over another. Sometimes that leads to greater cognitive abilities, and other times it leads to faster runners, higher flyers, or stickier barnacles. It's only by our own conceit that we believe there is a preferential drive toward the development of smarter organisms like ourselves. That "own conceit" can be turned right around. Who conceit about what? Besides . . . an objective observation of evolution over the past few billions years tells a very different more interesting story. Folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity cascading down the river of time. and so on :coolsmirk:
As for genes not trying to survive but that the process allows them to survive, isn't that the same thing? Genes can only survive if the conditions are right. They will take every opportunity, but they can't change the conditions. Lois
Are you familiar with the evolution of minerals over deep time. heck even walking in the desert and finding these incredible little micro oasis where one organism takes root and alters the environment just enough to provide habitat for another, then another, until there's crazy little community of life succeeding where there was barren earth. Hell life conquering land, was an endless process of life developing niches where further life could exist, providing opportunities for yet further life to develop. Put whatever spin you like on it, that is still an active, environment altering and progressing thing going on there.
Good article although it could have been better. I wish the author hadn't anthropomorphized the genes as it misrepresents the driving force behind evolution and perpetuates a common misunderstanding among lay people ie. That organisms strive or desire to improve. Genes do not have any intent at all. They are not jumping from species to species so they can survive. Their horizontal transfer is entirely serendipitous. The fact that this process persists at all is not because genes are trying to survive but simply because the process allows them to survive.
Yes, it was quite low level. Maybe there are or will be others that are more sophisticated and informed. As for genes not trying to survive but that the process allows them to survive, isn't that the same thing? Genes can only survive if the conditions are right. They will take every opportunity, but they can't change the conditions. Lois There is a subtle difference. One implies a level of intent and actions taken to reach a desired goal. Genes have no goal. They just exist and if they happen to acquire characteristics that allow them to exist in greater numbers then they become more common but there was never any intent or goal on the part of the gene. Genes do not strive to be more successful or more numerous or widespread

Perhaps peacegirl’s “movement in the direction of greatest satisfaction” may have a role to play. When greater satisfaction includes physical phenomena as affinity, or attraction, or magnetism, then a natural tendency to find comfort (fit) could lead to a causal action.
Gravity is the exercise of something falling and settling down at its lowest point (closest to the center). Things will actively fall down, but never actively fall up. It’s a one way street ---------> , evolution.
An interesting example is how a plant seed knows it is upside down 8" below the surface. It has a gimbal system which tells it what direction it is facing. http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/06/21/155508849/how-do-plants-know-which-way-is-up-and-which-way-is-down

Perhaps peacegirl's "movement in the direction of greatest satisfaction" may have a role to play. When greater satisfaction includes physical phenomena as affinity, or attraction, or magnetism, then a natural tendency to find comfort (fit) could lead to a causal action. Gravity is the exercise of something falling and settling down at its lowest point (closest to the center). Things will actively fall down, but never actively fall up. It's a one way street ---------> , evolution. An interesting example is how a plant seed knows it is upside down 8" below the surface. It has a gimbal system which tells it what direction it is facing. http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/06/21/155508849/how-do-plants-know-which-way-is-up-and-which-way-is-down
I am not really sure what connection you meant to imply but again we should remove the anthropomorphisms. Contrary to Mr Krulwich's remarks, the seed does not "know" anything. Its ability to grow in the correct direction is determined entirely by the effect of gravity on some internal mechanism. The plant no more knows which way is up than does a bubble in a bottle of water when you turn the bottle upside down and it naturally floats in the direction of the new "up".
Perhaps peacegirl's "movement in the direction of greatest satisfaction" may have a role to play. When greater satisfaction includes physical phenomena as affinity, or attraction, or magnetism, then a natural tendency to find comfort (fit) could lead to a causal action. Gravity is the exercise of something falling and settling down at its lowest point (closest to the center). Things will actively fall down, but never actively fall up. It's a one way street ---------> , evolution. An interesting example is how a plant seed knows it is upside down 8" below the surface. It has a gimbal system which tells it what direction it is facing. http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/06/21/155508849/how-do-plants-know-which-way-is-up-and-which-way-is-down
I am not really sure what connection you meant to imply but again we should remove the anthropomorphisms. Contrary to Mr Krulwich's remarks, the seed does not "know" anything. Its ability to grow in the correct direction is determined entirely by the effect of gravity on some internal mechanism. The plant no more knows which way is up than does a bubble in a bottle of water when you turn the bottle upside down and it naturally floats in the direction of the new "up". Of course, the process itself works without sentience, but that is the point isn't it? There is a natural tendency for some stable systems to attain equilibrium, but other natural systems are unstable and evolve or disintegrate.

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Good point, MacGyver! Lois
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Yep, 2 points make a 1D line. 3 points make a 2D plane. 4 points make a 3D volume. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rstu3nGdZLs&feature=related
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Good point, MacGyver! Lois LOL. I posted on the wrong thread and there doesn't appear to be a way to actually delete a post so I figured if I just did that you would get the point ;-)
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Good point, MacGyver! Lois LOL. I posted on the wrong thread and there doesn't appear to be a way to actually delete a post so I figured if I just did that you would get the point ;-) Ha ha. For future reference, you can edit the post. Just write something like, "Deleted" or "Error".