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ABCD of Earth Life

February 14, 2006

 

ABCD of Earth Life

April-June 2001, w/touchup mid 2003)

A. Pre-cell Life ?

A most profound and stirring lesson of published genomes is, for some strange reason, not mentioned nor discussed. This lesson is the realization that reconstruction of biology has been due ever since biologists adopted the appearance of cellular life on Earth as the Big Bang of Life.

Genomes, all genomes, make most sense if celled life evolved from pre-celled life which, by our present knowledge, might have been based on individual archaic genes that evolved and speciated into more elaborate genes, some of whom entered into symbiotic associations, some of whom then celled themselves, some cells then forming further intra- and/or inter-cells associations, etc.,.

If you adjust the concept of the evolution of life to such a scheme you realize that chromosomal genes associations, genomes, are products of evolution and cooperation of their individual gene constituents much as their following mono- and poly-cell organisms are products of evolution of their earlier cellular forms, all being products of evolution of their in-cell genome residents who, by means of their, earlier, RNAs and, later, protein toolings, evolved and are designed and driven solely towards their replication, the replication of the in-cell residents, the genomes.

B. Earth-Life's Two Revolutionary Evolutions

There were two similar revolutionary evolutions in the history of Earth's Life Evolution:

The first revolutionary evolution was the "celling", by membrane, of the pre-celled archaic genes-associations plus their (nucleolus like?) retinues. This evolved in the course of the ongoing ubiquitous development of self-replicating life entities in the direction of ever higher complexity. The revolutionary aspect of this evolution was being no longer at the mercy of all environmental circumstances but, instead, having some control over many of them. The following Darwinian evolution of poly-celled life has been a continuation and an extension of this revolutionary evolution.

The second, recent, revolutionary evolution has been initiated, in a similar vein, by the primates that adapted from life in semi- or tropical circumstances to life on plains. As their changed living posture led to modified perceptive/adaptive capabilities Humans have gradually replaced adaptation to changed circumstances with self-evolving cultures/civilizations for control and modification of much of their circumstances. This is essentially similar to Life's earlier "celling" evolution, but with culture functioning for Humans for changing/controling their circumstances in lieu of protein toolings that function for in-cell genomes for adapting their cell’s physiology to changing circumstances.

Cultural aspects, ALL cultural aspects, function for individual humans and for human communities of ALL sizes including human phenotypes (distinct ethnic/national/cultural communities) in the same manner and for the same ends as biological systems function in cells. This is plainly in accord with the fractal nature of Earth Life.

C. Extraterrestrial Life?

The preoccupation of some humans with possibilities of off-Earth life and their efforts in search of extraterrestrial life are, in our present state of comprehension of the nature of life, futile and pitiful, as long as humans seek only extended-human-culture-like signals. Even our own base life elements, our genes, have no use and no need of cultural toolings for their needs and purpose, which are solely and neatly to survive and proliferate. Their proteinaceous toolings and chemical communications are for them superior to our toolings for our needs and purpose. Human-culture-like traits are just a chance diversion in the course of Earth life evolution, and they are superfluous for our genes for their proliferation purpose, being much less effective for their energy exploitation and chemical transformations and construction processes.

Likewise other life forms might have occurred somewhere and evolved and developed in other modes with other types of toolings and communications that render them replicable. Present human-culture-like traits may turn out to be less efficient also for the survival-replication of other life forms that may exist.

In order to conduct an effective search for non-Earth life it is required first to comprehend the basic nature of life that may be common to all possible forms of life. And since Life must evolve from Life, and in view of the characteristics of Life and Death, Life in general is most probably a "bubble of energy system", a system initiated and maintained by "energy" in a direction to halt or reverse the universal thermodynamic drive to a state of ever dissipating order and energy.

D. Elaboration on the above

If one accepts, intuitively and logically, Pasteur's observation that all life must come from previously existing life, then the answer to " what makes a mono- and poly-cell life-form a LIFE " is the answer to " what makes some molecular associations in cells LIVES", and vice versa.

Therefore for many years I have been wondering why we have elected to regard the cell as the base unit element of life. Most of the cells that we know (there are some poly-cell and great many mono-cell organisms we do not yet know) comprise such a variety and number of processes and structures of wide range of sizes and functions, that should make us regard a cell as a liquid-ambient spaceship comprising baser-than-cell life-base-elements. It is a matter of adjusting one's concepts to a different scale of things, to a world dimensioned circa 10^-14 of ours.

Presently we regard as an "organism" or a "life form", a unit element of a continuous lineage with an individual evolutionary history. This should apply also to the way-back early evolutionary version of the organism, about which we might yet know nothing or very little. However, it is scientifically logical and reasonable to conjecture that throughout their evolution from single archaic to chromosome-association-members genes have been and are now as living organisms as the single or poly-celled organisms that evolved from/by them in their drive to proliferate, in the process of accumulating-maintaining bubbles of life-energy. Wondering about earlier way-back gene-origin is, at our present state of knowledge, like wondering about the origin of what big-banged to form our universe.

Now, mitochondria and chloroplast and nucleus and chromosomes, each constituting a continuous lineage, are not now considered “organisms" because by themselves they presently have no possibility of survival, i.e. of independent replication. But once upon the time very likely some or all of them were "independent", before entering into an endosymbiotic association with a partner cell and consequently becoming dependent members of an association. Why is it difficult to accept that very likely early individual independent genes have likewise entered into symbiotic associations with each other, eventually evolving into chromosomal-associations-based organisms. After all when you ponder and reflect on each and every organizational pattern or process of a living system, regardless of its complexity, you cannot but realize that all phenomena of life are fractal, repetitive of similar phenomena on several scales, from in-cell to comprehensive total Earth life, including all human societies.

Each and every life form, including human, is designed and organized to preserve and proliferate its genome. This is Life's biological drive and target. And every aspect of each and every life form, including of humans, derives from this drive and serves it, and in the case of humans these aspects include all our civilizations and all our forms of cultures, which have evolved to improve our chance to survive and proliferate, for the sole purpose that our base genome survive and proliferate.

Thus I have tried to present a case (1) for pre-cell evolutionary life, (2) for life as a fractal phenomenon, (3) for life being a phenomenon of a "bubble of energy", and (4) for the emergence of humans as an evolutionary revolution similar to the emergence of cells.

end.

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