is life about the survival of the fittest chemistry?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by globali, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. globali Registered Member

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    Cancer undergoes an evolutionary process during its progression. Initially they arise from foci of dysplasia in situ disease. Some of these indolent epithelial cells, will eventually “collect” additional aberrations over time. Among these cells, the ones with capability to adapt and are compatible within the local microenvironment will survive and proliferate, constantly adding novel altered biological properties, leading to more aggressive tumors. Scientists have long tried to identify driver events in cancer progression. Some driver mutations have been extensively studied, but a universal model has not emerged. One reason for this could be the huge heterogeneity among different clones in a single patient, as well as the fact every patient has unique tumor hallmarks. Apart from this, not all genetic aberrations cause phenotypic alterations, or confer survival advantage, but are neutral. Moreover, epigenetic and metabolic events have been found to independently affect the fate of tumor cells.

    Roughly the same principles apply in bacterial adaptation, speciation, evolution, etc. Various changes are observed but at the end of the end they all share something in common. If the newly introduced chemical reaction, chemical pathway, system etc, leads to increased survival of the whole system, then it will be selected, no matter what the cause of this change was. So we only have chemical changes that cause a favorable result and chemical changes that cause unfavorable results for the cell….So evolution can be reduced down to evolution and selection of the fittest chemical reaction systems.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I think you've reduced it one step too far.

    Any chemical processes a critter has are pretty much baked into the genetics. It is the genes that are transferred between generations, not the chemistry. A gene that produces a slightly different chemical reaction than its forebears, such that it has an advantage, will be a gene that gets carried forward.
     
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  5. globali Registered Member

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    Well, apart from DNA being a part of chemistry itself, don't forget that also epigenetic changes or mitochondrial genetic material can be heritable.
    There are also adaptive mutations saying that mutations are not that random but are more purposeful at least in simple organisms. Nature seems to have more ways to embrace useful strategies than previously thought.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, but then why did you stop stop at chemistry? Why not say quarks, in their various groups (protons/electrons, etc) are ultimately the tools of evolution?

    No, the building block - the "atom" of evolution - is the gene.

    Yes, all of which falls essentially under genetics.
     
  8. globali Registered Member

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    You are giving all the importance to genetics here. Prions don’t even have DNA, yet they evolve.

    Genetics don’t do anything by themselves. Proteins do all the work at the end of the day. The ones with good proteins will live and reproduce. Someone with good DNA might not even reproduce to pass his DNA to the next generation. It’s the interaction of DNA with the rest of the biochemistry that gives meaning to DNA. An isolated DNA molecule is useless. Its just a dead piece of DNA.
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Your opening post wasnt really about whats important or who all the players are. It was about what is fit and what survives and that pretty much happens at the gene level not the chemistry level.

    True, there are other complex replicating molecules, but they still have their own units above the chemical level.

    Maybe you could reformulate your premise.
     
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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  11. Xmo1 Registered Senior Member

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    Let's look at life. What does the simplest life do? It survives and procreates. Those things even compared to the simplest life are complex events that have requirements. Can one life no matter how small survive on chemistry alone? Can one life survive without chemistry?

    The fittest is not even in question. That one little life has biological imperatives. It doesn't think about how it's going to go about accomplishing those imperatives does it. What if it has to fight another tiny little life? Does it know how? Still, and yet it is subject to the laws of the universe, and it cannot break them. The environment that it exists in helps it. It gives it energy, the capability of movement, and transport, and food, and time, and space. The environment is nurturing, and encouraging to life.

    Let's just scale that life up to our size in the present day, so as to see how important it is to educate those who have decided that it's ok to destroy the environment, or to drop millions of rounds of small arms ammunition into the waiting arms of our young adults, or to sell $1.3B worth of discount war machines to dopey country bureaucrats who call themselves leaders. On a stupidity scale of 1-2 - it's a 2. Survival as we know it is victory over ignorance, and ignorance is tough.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    NO. Not without bio-chemistry.
    See this excellent lecture by Robert Hazen, at the Carnegie Institute of Science, who explains the absolute necessity of chemical interaction for the origin of life. Start the the presentation at 25:15 (to avoid a lengthy introduction.)

     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Tell that to the gazelle in the jaws of a lion.

    The environment and its resources is not unlimited.

    Lions must eat. They eat gazelles.

    Life is a competition - for food, shelter and breeding space.

    We see this in the very nature of evolution. Evolution says: The fastest gazelle gets to breed. The rest get eaten.

    The foundation of humankind is nothing more than nature, writ large.
     
  14. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    I've always thought it should be "fit to survive", not "survival of the fittest". If only the fittest survived the species would be sparsely populated. Evolution, it seems, is more about weeding out the unfit. The slowest gnus will dine with the lions. The zebras with the best dazzle camouflage will get lost in the crowd. But the moderately fast and the somewhat hidden will survive as well.
     
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  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I can agree with that perspective. It's certainly true of humans, but also of the cuttlefish, each about same relative brainsize to bodysize, and both the physically weakest or most exposed species in its own environment.

    Instead we developed greater cognition and processing of the environment, which allowed each totally separate species to achieve spectacular defensive and offensive weapons.

    OTOH, a rhino is not very smart and cannot see very well and very aggressive, but can do so because of its evolved armor, which practically make a galloping rhino equivalent to a runaway truck coming at you.....

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Rock is about survival of chemistry.
    Life is about reproduction and evolution of chemistry.

    - -
    edit: sorry about adding stuff
     
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  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Life is a cooperation - for food, shelter, and breeding success.
     
  18. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Doesn't have to be an either/or thing.
     
  19. Xmo1 Registered Senior Member

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    Big - out of control populations turn to competition as a solution. It works for a time, but the dinosaurs will tell you it was the almighty asteroid that had the last laugh. That indicates that a victory over savagery (aka natural selection) is simply a matter of reproductive inhibition, which in today's world of biologically faced robotics and A.I. should have already been solved. It is problem one.

    We can re-make the garden of Eden, but problem two is to wrest power and control of the resources out of the claws of the mighty savage snakes (the 1%) while they are sleeping, and while the populations are recovering to reasonable levels. That has to be done, because their forte is brawn not brain, and we need brain to have a reasonable government (plug for technocracy).

    The perils of life today are easily witnessed in this light, but could just as easily be remedied. What then is the fate of the mighty savages? Without control they shrink back to normal, and time heals all wounds. Guess I could will my Chevy beater to one of them, so they would have a place to sleep at night.
     
  20. Xmo1 Registered Senior Member

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    They were rhetorical questions, but thanks for the vid.
     
  21. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Abiogenesis is the border between chemistry and biology.
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    If this were broadly true, then evolution would have nothing to work on.
    Evolution generally doesn't tend to make critters smarter, more sociable or more cooperative nearly as much as it tends to make them more physically able to get their own food, shelter and breeding space.
    (Look at how much any given critter's physiology has changed over epochs of evolution - as opposed to its sociology and intelligence).

    Sure, some do get smarter, and that is one path that evolution exploits, but mostly it's making better physical adaptations to their environment.

    Herd animals collect for the sake of protection - though that is dubiously cooperative; it doesn't work out so well for the ones near edge of the herd.

    Non-herders tend to be loners - and compete territorially for food.
     
  23. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Evolution is "change through time". It has no goal. If a mutation is beneficial it will be passed on by slightly more successful animals. If it's neutral it will be hit-or-miss if it's passed on, depending on what other mutations the host has inherited. A negative mutation, like beavers who can't swim, would tend to kill of the line that inherits it.

    And, of course, a mutation's classification can change depending on environmental and other factors. Indricotheres were great and holding water in dry climates, they were the biggest land ever. But when water got plentiful again they were no longer at an advantage over other large mammals.
     

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