I have promoted tests that might satisfy these lacks, without serious takers. And I have often discussed the lack of proof with mainstream biologists. These discussions have not been fruitful. The issue is not squarely faced, or evidence for historical evolution is touted as proof. Doubters are dismissed as uninformed or unscientific. Many experts who share the doubts do not participate in the discussion because they have learned that it is unproductive and uncivil. I'm getting there, following another lengthy exchange, this time with a published theoretical biologist. I spent a lot of effort on this cross-paradigm conversation, but it went nowhere. My side of it is the latest entry in "Replies".
Virus-derived gene transfer agents benefit host cells by providing templates for DNA repair by Andrew S. Lang, PLoS Biol, 08 Nov 2022; re: Prophage-like gene transfer agents promote Caulobacter crescentus survival and DNA repair during stationary phase by Kevin Gozzi et L., PLoS Biol, 03 Nov 2022.
10 Mar 2021: New genes can be acquired only via HGT..., affirming HGT among prokaryotes, with links.
Remembering author Kurt Vonnegut, who would have turned 100 on Friday, 7-minute excerpt of interview, Morning Edition, NPR, 11 Nov 2022.
Fortunately, Peebles also wonders what the universe was doing before it was expanding, and says that we have no coherent theory of the "beginning" of the universe. (A beginning from a super-hot single point, with nowhere to hide, would sterilize everything.)
I was pleased to learn that Mach's challenging skepticism had lasting influence, and to learn more about Einstein's path to General Relativity. George Gamow's role in the development of today's cosmology was bigger than I knew. Fred Hoyle's multiple contributions are acknowledged and explained. Cosmology is a collaborative enterprise, and Peebles knows who contributed what, and when.
Peebles has a lot to observe about how science advances. Some discoveries come almost simultaneously from different scientists, "Merton's multiples," he names them. Some ideas are originally accepted for their elegance and simplicity. Some insights are simply "in the air." Major breakthroughs usually come from "small science," whose papers have only a few authors. While his examples come from cosmology, the book is largely about the logic and philosophy of science.
I also think about that subject, with examples from a different field, evolution. The contrast is striking:
While cosmologists may work independently, they heed others and notice evidence from any source that may be relevant. If an anomaly arises, it is investigated. Resolving differences is an unstated, obvious goal. And the assumptions underlying the whole enterprise are not exempt from scrutiny. This freedom keeps the subject healthy and lively. By comparison, today's theory of evolution is ridgidly blindered, gridlocked.
Peebles writes "a 'persuasive case' [applies] to theories that pass enough tests of prediction to persuade the community to accept the theory...." By that criterion, the Modern Synthesis (including EES, etc.) is obviously not persuasive. Its defenders respond that the unpersuaded are not members of the "community."
"At the heart of the science wars is surely the difficulty of communication between different cultures with different traditions," Peebles says, referring to conflict with "anti-science." A skeptical alternative such as cosmic ancestry is not "anti-science," but mainstream biology frames all skepticism that way. "The mismatch makes fertile ground for misunderstandings," Peebles concludes. These words come from a distinguished scientist who well understands the practice of science. Highly recommended.The Whole Truth: A Cosmologistís Reflections on the Search for Objective Reality by P. J. E. Peebles, Princeton University Press, 02 Aug 2022.
21 Nov 2019: comments from an interview with James Peebles.
The End and the Big Bang includes evidence inconsistent with a hot big bang from a single point.
Multiple Horizontal Acquisitions of Plant Genes in the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci by Clément Gilbert and Florian Maumus, Genome Biology and Evolution, Oct 2022.
26 Mar 2021: more about transferred whitefly genes.
Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms has a primer and many updates with examples.
Weldon, Bateson, and the origins of genetics: Reflections on the unraveling and rebuilding of a scientific community by Lea K. Davis, PLoS Gen, 27 Oct 2022.
How Genes Can Leap From Snakes to Frogs in Madagascar by Veronique Greenwood, Quanta, 27 Oct 2022.
28 Apr 2022: about the original study of retroposons transferred from snakes to frogs.
Viruses... cites more than 2,000 examples of HGT, including every gene category.
Thanks, Google Alerts and Adam S. Wilkins. Adam, please notice also:
Scientists Catch Jumping Genes Rewiring Genomes, by Max Kozlov, Quanta, 12 May 2021.
Surface waves and crustal structure on Mars by Doyeon Kim et al., and
Largest recent impact craters on Mars: Orbital imaging and surface seismic co-investigation by L. V. Posiolova et al., Science, 27 Oct 2022.
...It Came From Space. by Kenneth Chang, The New York Times, 27 Oct 2022.
Thanks, Rob Cooper. Life on Mars!, cites various, noteworthy evidence.
Effects of Desiccation and Freezing on Microbial Ionizing Radiation Survivability... by William H. Horne et al., Astrobiology, online 25 Oct 2022. Desiccation and freezing greatly increased radiation survival....
Bacteria..., and Life on Mars!, have background and updated information.
Thanks, Google Alerts and George Nickas.
New research suggests that the membrane protecting the spore stores electrical energy as a "biological capacitor," accumulating and integrating signals from the environment while the spore is chemically inert. Upon reaching a threshold, the capacitor triggers Germination and the cell resumes normal life. Of course, this would be crucial for panspermia.
...short nutrient pulses result in step-like changes in the electrochemical potential of persistent spores. During dormancy, spores thus gradually release their stored electrochemical potential to integrate extracellular information over time. It would be hard to invent a neo-darwinian explanation for the programming underlying this capability.Electrochemical potential enables dormant spores to integrate environmental signals by Kaito Kikuchi et al., Science, 06 Oct 2022.
An electric alarm clock for spores by Jonathan Lombardino and Briana M. Burton, Science, 06 Oct 2022.
...How Dormant Bacteria Calculate Their Return to Life, UC San Diego (+Newswise), 06 Oct 2022.
Bacteria: The Space Colonists has background and updates about their hardiness.
Robust Software Management begins with a brief discussion of endospores.
Sep 2022: Raju Pookottil, a member of "The Third Way of evolution," reacts to cosmic ancestry.
Jun-Sep 2022: My side of a conversation with biochemist and molecular biologist James A. Shapiro (excerpt below).
Metabolic novelty originating from horizontal gene transfer is essential for leaf beetle survival by Roy Kirsch et al., doi:10.1073/pnas.2205857119, PNAS, 26 Sep 2022. Also, a stinkbug benefits from cross-kingdom HGT. It seems to be everywhere.
A new antimicrobial peptide, Pentatomicin, from the stinkbug Plautia stali, by Yudai Nishide et al., Nature, 04 Oct 2022. Notably, orthologous sequences were also detected from a horseshoe crab, cyanobacteria and proteobacteria, suggesting the possibility of inter-domain horizontal gene transfers of Pentatomicin and allied protein genes.
Viruses... cites more than 2,000 examples of HGT, crossing all kingdoms.