Symbiogenesis

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Symbiogenesis is the origin of organisms by the combination or by the association of two or several beings which enter into symbiosis. The idea originated with Constantin Merezhkowsky in his 1909 book The Theory of two Plasms as Foundation of Symbiogenesis, New Doctrine on the Origin of Organisms, published when he was working as professor at the Kazan University in Russia.[1] Ivan Wallin also supported this concept in his book "Symbionticism and the Origins of Species". He suggested that bacteria might be the cause of the origin of species, and that species creation may occur through endosymbiosis. Today both chloroplasts and mitochondria are believed, by those who ascribe to the endosymbiotic theory, to have such an origin.

In Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species, biologist Lynn Margulis argued later that symbiogenesis is a primary force in evolution. According to her theory, acquisition and accumulation of random mutations are not sufficient to explain how inherited variations occur; rather, new organelles, bodies, organs, and species arise from symbiogenesis.[2] Whereas the classical interpretation of evolution (the modern evolutionary synthesis) emphasizes competition as the main force behind evolution, Margulis emphasizes cooperation.[3] She argues that bacteria along with other microorganisms helped create the conditions that we require for life, such as oxygen. Margulis believes that these microorganisms make up a major component in Earth’s biomass and that they are the reason current conditions on earth are maintained. She also believes that the DNA in the cytoplasm of animal, plant, fungal and protist cells, rather than resulting from mutations, resulted from genes from bacteria that became organelles. She claimed that bacteria are able to exchange genes more quickly and more easily, and because of this, they are more versatile, which is why life was able to evolve so quickly.[4]

A fundamental principle of modern evolutionary theory is that mutations arise one at a time and either spread through the population or not, depending on whether they offer an individual fitness advantage. Nevertheless, this general case may not apply to all examples of evolutionary change. Indeed, genome mapping techniques have revealed that family trees of the major taxa appear to be extensively cross-linked—possibly due to lateral gene transfer.[5]

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Sapp J, Carrapiço F, Zolotonosov M (2002). "Symbiogenesis: the hidden face of Constantin Merezhkowsky". History and philosophy of the life sciences 24 (3–4): 413–40. doi:10.1080/03919710210001714493. PMID 15045832. 
  2. ^ Margulis L (1993). "Origins of species: acquired genomes and individuality". BioSystems 31 (2–3): 121–5. doi:10.1016/0303-2647(93)90039-F. PMID 8155844. 
  3. ^ Margulis L, Bermudes D (1985). "Symbiosis as a mechanism of evolution: status of cell symbiosis theory". Symbiosis 1: 101–24. PMID 11543608. 
  4. ^ "Acquiring Genomes". March 8, 2005. Retrieved February 24, 2011 
  5. ^ de la Cruz F, Davies J (2000). "Horizontal gene transfer and the origin of species: lessons from bacteria". Trends Microbiol. 8 (3): 128–33. doi:10.1016/S0966-842X(00)01703-0. PMID 10707066. 

References[edit]

  • Sapp J, Carrapiço F, Zolotonosov M (2002). "Symbiogenesis: the hidden face of Constantin Merezhkowsky". History and philosophy of the life sciences 24 (3–4): 413–40. doi:10.1080/03919710210001714493. PMID 15045832. 
  • Margulis L, Bermudes D (1985). "Symbiosis as a mechanism of evolution: status of cell symbiosis theory". Symbiosis 1: 101–24. PMID 11543608. 

Important publications[edit]

  • Konstantin Mereschkowsky. Symbiogenesis and the Origin of Species. 1926.
  • Lynn Margulis. Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution. Amherst, MA: Perseus Books Group, 1998. ISBN 0-465-07271-2.
  • Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan. Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species. Amherst, MA: Perseus Books Group, 2002. ISBN 0-465-04391-7.