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Gonorrhea acquires a piece of human DNA
Northwestern University ^ | February 13, 2011 | Unknown

Posted on 02/13/2011 2:39:33 PM PST by decimon

First evidence of gene transfer from human host to bacterial pathogen offers new view of evolution, disease

CHICAGO --- If a human cell and a bacterial cell met at a speed-dating event, they would never be expected to exchange phone numbers, much less genetic material. In more scientific terms, a direct transfer of DNA has never been recorded from humans to bacteria.

Until now. Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered the first evidence of a human DNA fragment in a bacterial genome – in this case, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea. Further research showed the gene transfer appears to be a recent evolutionary event.

The discovery offers insight into evolution as well as gonorrhea's nimble ability to continually adapt and survive in its human hosts. Gonorrhea, which is transmitted through sexual contact, is one of the oldest recorded diseases and one of a few exclusive to humans.

"This has evolutionary significance because it shows you can take broad evolutionary steps when you're able to acquire these pieces of DNA," said study senior author Hank Seifert, professor of microbiology and immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "The bacterium is getting a genetic sequence from the very host it's infecting. That could have far reaching implications as far as how the bacteria can adapt to the host."

It's known that gene transfer occurs between different bacteria and even between bacteria and yeast cells. "But human DNA to a bacterium is a very large jump," said lead author Mark Anderson, a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology. "This bacterium had to overcome several obstacles in order to acquire this DNA sequence."

The paper will be published Feb. 14 in the online journal mBio.

The finding suggests gonorrhea's ability to acquire DNA from its human host may enable it to develop new and different strains of itself. "But whether this particular event has provided an advantage for the gonorrhea bacterium, we don't know yet, " Seifert said.

Every year an estimated 700,000 people in the United States and 50 million worldwide acquire gonorrhea. While the disease is curable with antibiotics, only one drug is now recommended for treatment because the disease developed resistance to previously used antibiotic options over the past four decades.

Gonorrhea is a particularly serious disease for women. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a painful condition that can cause sterility and ectopic pregnancy. In rare cases, men and women can develop a form of the disease that leaves the genital tract and enters the bloodstream, causing arthritis and endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.

An ancient disease that sounds like gonorrhea is described in the Bible, noted Seifert, who has studied the disease for 28 years. Most of his research focuses on how the bacterium evades the human immune system by altering its appearance and modulating the action of white blood cells.

The gene transfer was discovered when the genomic sequences of several gonorrhea clinical isolates were determined at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Three of the 14 isolates had a piece of DNA where the sequence of DNA bases (A's, T's, C's and G's) was identical to an L1 DNA element found in humans.

In Seifert's Feinberg lab, Anderson sequenced the fragment to reconfirm it was indeed identical to the human one. He also showed that this human sequence is present in about 11 percent of the screened gonorrhea isolates.

Anderson also screened the bacterium that causes meningitis, Neisseria meningitidis, and is very closely related to gonorrhea bacteria at the genetic level. There was no sign of the human fragment, suggesting the gene transfer is a recent evolutionary event.

"The next step is to figure out what this piece of DNA is doing," Seifert said.

###

The research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

NORTHWESTERN NEWS: www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; History; Science
KEYWORDS: alfranken; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble
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1 posted on 02/13/2011 2:39:35 PM PST by decimon
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To: neverdem; DvdMom; grey_whiskers; Ladysmith; Roos_Girl; Silentgypsy; conservative cat; SunkenCiv

Ping


2 posted on 02/13/2011 2:40:33 PM PST by decimon
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To: decimon

“Every year an estimated 700,000 people in the United States and 50 million worldwide acquire gonorrhea. While the disease is curable with antibiotics, only one drug is now recommended for treatment because the disease developed resistance to previously used antibiotic options over the past four decades.”

...and considering that the drug makers have pretty much thrown in the towel, once Gonorrhea gets resistance to this last drug, look for it to make a surging comeback here.

...and maybe that will slow down our free-love culture, at least somewhat. So not necessarily all bad news.


3 posted on 02/13/2011 2:44:35 PM PST by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: decimon
"Ping"

In this case, I think "Clap" may have been more appropriate.

4 posted on 02/13/2011 2:45:20 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: decimon
In more scientific terms, a direct transfer of DNA has never been recorded from humans to bacteria. Until now.

Sorta like converting to Islam.

5 posted on 02/13/2011 2:48:16 PM PST by rickmichaels
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To: Joe 6-pack
"Ping"

In this case, I think "Clap" may have been more appropriate.

I wouldn't want the thread to go viral, so to speak.

6 posted on 02/13/2011 2:51:23 PM PST by decimon
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To: decimon; Spirochete

LOL....you forgot to alert Spirochete...


7 posted on 02/13/2011 2:52:44 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: decimon

The “Slick-Willy” gene.


8 posted on 02/13/2011 2:53:57 PM PST by windsorknot (Int)
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To: decimon
Or, as Obama puts it:

"Together we thrive!"

9 posted on 02/13/2011 2:54:51 PM PST by mrsmith
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To: BobL
"our free-love culture"

As Uncle Milty would have said:

There's no such thing as a free hook-up.

10 posted on 02/13/2011 2:55:36 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: decimon

eating barry’s what???...oh...nevvverrrmind...


11 posted on 02/13/2011 2:55:59 PM PST by bigheadfred (THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE HAS BEGUN)
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To: windsorknot
Photobucket
12 posted on 02/13/2011 2:56:27 PM PST by digger48
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

“As Uncle Milty would have said: There’s no such thing as a free hook-up. “

If Gongareea (as Rush calls it) pulls off this next mutation, there are going to be a LOT of liberal women suffering life-changing consequences, thanks to the health care system they worked so hard to dismantle.

LOL.


13 posted on 02/13/2011 3:00:19 PM PST by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: decimon

People have scoffed in the face of God; and now they’ve literally become a part of what they’ve embraced.


14 posted on 02/13/2011 3:01:11 PM PST by Twinkie (Two wrongs don't make a right.)
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To: decimon
Gonorrhea acquires a piece of human DNA

Okay, how do researches know that it's the Gonorrhea bacterium doing the "acquiring", and not the human defense mechanism trying to alter the DNA of the bacterium in an attempt to render it helpless or diminish it's damaging qualities?
15 posted on 02/13/2011 3:07:04 PM PST by adorno
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To: allmendream; kosta50

Ping.


16 posted on 02/13/2011 3:07:28 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: decimon

17 posted on 02/13/2011 3:08:08 PM PST by rfp1234 (Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers!)
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To: Joe 6-pack

I’m elated to say that no doctor has ever told me, “The disease that you have is nothing to ‘clap’ about.”


18 posted on 02/13/2011 3:11:56 PM PST by davisfh (Islam is a mental illness with global social consequences)
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To: decimon
Gonorrhea plush toy!


19 posted on 02/13/2011 3:11:56 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (Obama promised a gold mine, but will give us the shaft.)
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To: decimon
I thought we did a number on gonorrhea lectum a few months ago.
20 posted on 02/13/2011 3:12:10 PM PST by Past Your Eyes (I'd get it myself but I don't have any thumbs.)
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To: decimon

Later.


21 posted on 02/13/2011 3:16:16 PM PST by Total Package (TOLEDO, OHIO THE MRSA INFECTION IN THE STATE and the death of freedom)
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To: decimon

“An ancient disease that sounds like gonorrhea is described in the Bible, noted Seifert, who has studied the disease for 28 years.”

I guess we need dedicated people in the world like Seifert here, but, Man...what a life - studying the clap.


22 posted on 02/13/2011 3:16:55 PM PST by 2nd Bn, 11th Mar (The "p" in Democrat stands for patriotism.)
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To: 2nd Bn, 11th Mar
I guess we need dedicated people in the world like Seifert here, but, Man...what a life - studying the clap.

Clap, clap, clap,
they call him the clapper

23 posted on 02/13/2011 3:20:44 PM PST by decimon
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To: LibFreeOrDie
Gonorrhea plush toy!

The perfect Valentine's Day gift.

24 posted on 02/13/2011 3:22:54 PM PST by decimon
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To: decimon

So, which came first in the evolutionary scheme?
The human or the clap virus?


25 posted on 02/13/2011 3:31:28 PM PST by Westbrook (Having children does not divide your love, it multiplies it.)
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To: decimon

Terrific! This news REALLY makes me want to get right out there and date again, LOL!

On the other hand, my documented clean bill of health will definitely be a HUGE bargaining chip when I’m ‘Husband Hunting’ again in the future.

*BIG SMILE*


26 posted on 02/13/2011 3:35:40 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: decimon

Sounds like time for a major rewrite of evolutionary theory.

It is known that the human genome has integrated the entire RNA of some viruses, over the course of a vast amount of time. However, if a bacteria can get DNA from us, it could leap frog millions of years of ordinary evolution.


27 posted on 02/13/2011 3:38:04 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: BobL
...and maybe that will slow down our free-love culture, at least somewhat.

You mean like the way AIDs has slowed down the gay "free love" culture. Oh,wait.

It would be nice to think that people would start to wise up; but, I think they would just whine a lot and insist somebody come up with a cure.

28 posted on 02/13/2011 3:47:48 PM PST by LibertarianLiz
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To: Joe 6-pack
Yes, off the track now, the proper word for "ping" for the ".xxx" append is "clap"!

They'll be so happy they're already getting their own internet jargon!

29 posted on 02/13/2011 4:05:50 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: adorno

They don’t know, yet. Give them time to research it.

This may give medical researchers a new chance at a cure for the disease, one not involving antibiotics.


30 posted on 02/13/2011 4:17:35 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!)
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To: decimon; digger48
Gonorrhea acquires a piece of human DNA

Turns out he infected it.

31 posted on 02/13/2011 4:20:51 PM PST by martin_fierro (Hooray PinkiePie!)
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To: SatinDoll
They don’t know, yet.

Yet, the claim was made in the article that, the virus "acquired" the human DNA sequence; they didn't even mention that it could be the other way around with the human DNA invading the virus for "defense" purposes.
32 posted on 02/13/2011 4:33:54 PM PST by adorno
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To: adorno

REAL scientists won’t go there unless they have proof. These guys do not seem like the climate prediction loonies.


33 posted on 02/13/2011 4:37:32 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!)
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To: LibertarianLiz

“You mean like the way AIDs has slowed down the gay “free love” culture. Oh,wait.”

It did, a bit, around 1990. Then they found enough drugs to let them survive and they came back with a vengeance.


34 posted on 02/13/2011 4:41:20 PM PST by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: adorno

The human immune system is already pretty amazing.

Shuffling DNA around to come up with a structure that binds to just about every possible 3-D molecular shape? WOW!

Nobody supposes it alters the DNA of a bacteria; but if you have any evidence of it, I am all ears! Meanwhile there are many mechanisms bacteria have to acquire DNA for foreign sources and put them to use.


35 posted on 02/13/2011 4:56:04 PM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: allmendream
Nobody supposes it alters the DNA of a bacteria; but if you have any evidence of it, I am all ears!

You, yourself, admitted that the human defense mechanism is amazing, yet, you're willing to accept that a bacteria possesses a power more amazing than that of the human body, and it's defense mechanisms and it's DNA? Researchers are still discovering many new things about the human defense mechanisms, so, why is the study about the Gonorrhea bacteria just a one-sided or one way street? If we were to be the "weaklings" that the article suggests, with the superior abilities of the Gonorrhea bacterium, we wouldn't stand a chance against any bacteria or virus.
36 posted on 02/13/2011 5:10:28 PM PST by adorno
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To: decimon; martin_fierro; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

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Thanks decimon.
...the first evidence of a human DNA fragment in a bacterial genome – in this case, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea. Further research showed the gene transfer appears to be a recent evolutionary event.
So *that's* what the kids are calling it now -- "c'mon over, we'll study, and maybe have a REE."

Northwestern University? Probably one of the cheerleaders.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


37 posted on 02/13/2011 5:11:00 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Perdogg

steve howe yes the clap
Google

38 posted on 02/13/2011 5:13:50 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: adorno
Just because the DNA transfer is, traditionally, one way doesn't make us weaker without superior abilities to a bacteria.

Getting inside a cell and changing DNA is what a virus is good at. Our immune system doesn't produce viral structures.

Attaching antibodies (those 3-D shapes) to pathogens and using pyrogens and killer cells - THAT the immune system does.

Introducing DNA changes to the pathogens that prey upon you is an ineffective method, because you cannot ‘get’ them all at once, and the more detrimental the disadvantage, the more those unaffected will dominate subsequent generations.

So even if the immune system...

a) created viral like particles that could enter the bacterial cell and introduce new DNA.

b) the new DNA was to the disadvantage of the bacteria.

Then.....

c) the bacteria with the disadvantage would be out-competed by those without it.

39 posted on 02/13/2011 5:23:57 PM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: decimon

So...at last, gonorrhea caught us!
BOLO the audience clapping gif...


40 posted on 02/13/2011 5:48:13 PM PST by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (BYOST -- bring your own sark tag. Thank you.)
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To: allmendream
I'm not a DNA researcher, and I'm not even a researcher about the human defense mechanisms, but, I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. ;)

Introducing DNA changes to the pathogens that prey upon you is an ineffective method, because you cannot ‘get’ them all at once, and the more detrimental the disadvantage, the more those unaffected will dominate subsequent generations.

You don't have to "get them all at once"; just the ones that constitute the original invasion or infection. Infections start out with a few "invaders" and the number of them get larger with time. So, if the body is able to attack the few before they become the "many", then there is no need to "get them all".
41 posted on 02/13/2011 5:51:34 PM PST by adorno
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To: decimon
Every year an estimated 700,000 people in the United States . . . acquire gonorrhea.

I can't help thinking about what this means for those who fool around. The odds for those who are young and not sexually active, for those in a monogamous relationship, and for those who abstain from sex are all excellent. As for those who engage in casual sex or who patronize prostitutes, the odds are not pretty.

42 posted on 02/13/2011 6:36:39 PM PST by Pollster1 (Natural born citizen of the USA, with the birth certificate to prove it)
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To: adorno

Yes there is. Bacteria are not only adept at gaining foreign DNA, they are ‘experts’ at getting rid of any DNA that isn’t ‘worth its salt’.

If any at all present in your body didn’t get the DNA your immune system (by some unknown mechanism) was introducing, then those that didn’t get the DNA would dominate subsequent generations. Those that gained it would experience selective pressure to rid themselves of it, and any mutation that rendered it inoperable would be favored.

It would be, first of all an amazing unknown mechanism, and secondly - an attempt to beat a bacteria at its own game.

You don’t win that way, it is an outlandish strategy presupposing unknown mechanisms that, even if true, wouldn’t be effective.

Reality is, by most accounts, weird enough. Our immune system introducing DNA into bacteria is weird, but not weird enough - because it wouldn’t work.


43 posted on 02/13/2011 6:45:08 PM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: allmendream

Excellent and astute series of replies. Thanks for sharing.


44 posted on 02/14/2011 5:50:05 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD
No problem.

They refer to the human sequence the bacteria has acquired as an “element”. This usually denotes a sequence of DNA that is bound by a specific 3-D protein, usually a transcription activator or repressor.

For example, the difference between lactose tolerance as an adult and lactose intolerance is a mutation in a transcription repressor ‘element’ near the lactose gene. In almost all mammals this repressor turns off the gene in adulthood, in Northern European populations and some African cattle herding populations this DNA ‘element’ is mutated, so that the lactose gene is expressed as an adult.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, this DNA is doing, and what advantage (if any) it confers upon those bacteria with it.

45 posted on 02/14/2011 6:04:49 AM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: allmendream
Sounds like you've done the research already to come up with your conclusions.

Reality is, by most accounts, weird enough. Our immune system introducing DNA into bacteria is weird, but not weird enough - because it wouldn’t work.

So, according to your research or understanding, DNA introduced by a host into an invader is doomed to fail in changing the characteristics of the invader because the invader is "too smart" or has it's own defensive mechanism. But, genetic material that "invades" an intruder might be "intended" as a defense mechanism by the host as an attempt to render the invader "harmless" by changing the dangerous characteristics of that invader. According to you, DNA exchange is a one way street, where the Gonorrhea bacteria are the ones "taking" from the host, and it's not the host attempting to defend itself by "introducing" it's own DNA into the invader.

The way I see it, most of how a body's defense mechanism works is still to be discovered, and we don't know the entire picture yet.
46 posted on 02/14/2011 6:27:09 AM PST by adorno
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To: adorno
Wow, does reality intrude much into your world, do you actually read my responses, or just read what you want to read in them?

I never said a bacteria was “too smart”. That is your own misconception.

Evolution would work against your proposed mechanism, there is no “smart” required.

A change in the dangerous characteristics of an invading pathogen through introduction of new DNA into its genome would not work for the three reasons I already outlined, and there was no “smart” required from the bacteria in either....

1) unknown mechanism completely removed from anything observed in how the immune system works. This is obviously the weakest objection because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But it presupposes a rather complex and bizarre mechanism that has never been observed, Occum’s razor precludes taking this assumption seriously without any evidence. This MIGHT be evidence of what you suggest, but first we will have to see what the human DNA element is doing in the bacteria and if having it is advantageous or disadvantageous for the bacteria.

2) Even if the mechanism existed and was highly effective at introducing human DNA into the bacteria, natural selection would favor any that were not affected until they dominated each subsequent generation.

3) Selective pressure would work towards elimination or mutation of the foreign DNA sequence if it conferred a disadvantage.

It might be easier to deal with the arguments I didn't make, but it isn't exactly logical discourse at that point, is it? Can you deal with the arguments I actually DID make?

47 posted on 02/14/2011 6:42:41 AM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: allmendream
Look, I don't have the time right now, nor the desire to drag on this discussion, but, I'll just point out your statement to prompted me to draw the "smart" analogy from your argument...

they are ‘experts’ at getting rid of any DNA that isn’t ‘worth its salt’.

That word "expert" connotes a sort of "intelligence" or "smarts", and that's where I drew the smart analogy which has you all twisted out of shape.

Perhaps you should have used some other word or phrase, like "trait" or "characteristic" or "property" or "defense mechanism of the bacteria".

BTW, "natural selection"?

Do you not believe that there could be some very smart design in all living organisms, including even the bacteria in question?

Yeah, that's a whole other question, and perhaps we don't need to go there now.
48 posted on 02/14/2011 5:35:13 PM PST by adorno
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To: adorno
Maybe you didn't notice the marks around the work ‘expert’ noting that I was using the phrase euphemistically.

They are “experts” in that bacteria routinely gain and rid themselves of foreign DNA. It is a trait, a characteristic, an intrinsic property.

Yes, natural selection.

If 10% of the bacterial population has the human DNA and it is advantageous there will eventually be 11% of the bacterial population that will have that trait.

It is a mathematical inevitability.

If it is disadvantageous then eventually only 9% of the population will have that trait.

That is why a fantastical mechanism whereby the immune system would add DNA to a bacteria would be idiotic, because the more detrimental the trait it passed on - the quicker it would be selected against and eliminated from the population.

The immune system is in the business of identifying foreign 3D structures and KILLING THEM, not messing with their DNA in the hopes that it will make them act nicer.

I mean what sense does that make? But I sense where you are coming from, and it doesn't seem so strange now that you prefer fantastical illogical magical mechanisms to actual science.

49 posted on 02/14/2011 9:00:45 PM PST by allmendream (Tea Party did not send the GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism.)
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To: allmendream
I see where you like to call those that have a disagreement with you "idiots". Resorting to insults is the ultimate refuge of those that can't even stand to be challenged.

I mean what sense does that make? But I sense where you are coming from, and it doesn't seem so strange now that you prefer fantastical illogical magical mechanisms to actual science.

I mentioned "smart design" as opposed to your "natural selection". What proof do you have that says that it can't be "intelligent design" rather than "natural selection" for the way that the human defense mechanism works?

I myself came from the camp that believed that "natural selection" was the true answer to how life evolved and how "magical" it was in the "progression" of all species, from the simple to the highly complex. But, as I lived longer and became wiser and learned a lot more about how "inconceivable" it was to just believe that "natural forces" made the most complex of species, including humans.

The answers are not there yet to how life "evolved" and not even on how the human defense mechanism works. That research is itself evolving.

YOu don't have the answers and neither do the actual researches, at least, not yet.
50 posted on 02/15/2011 5:54:15 AM PST by adorno
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