Mice are great (see: high-endurance mice, mice with lab-grown artificial organs, Israeli bomb-sniffing security mice) but sometimes you just don't want them in your apartment/house/bakery/kitchen/New York subway station, which is why you might buy some warfarin, a common rodent poison. Some mice, however, have developed an immunity to that poison through highly unusual means: horizontal gene transfer, a kind of evolution-through-hybridization that's only been seen before in microbes.
As reported in the current issue of Current Biology, mice in a German bakery were discovered to have absolutely no reaction to the use of even a particularly nasty form of warfarin, which is usually a kiss of death for our friend the house mouse. A genetic analysis showed that the mice in that kitchen actually had a large chunk of DNA from the Algerian mouse, a separate (though closely related) species from the house mouse that's usually found around the sandy western coasts of the Mediterranean.
The Algerian mouse, you see, is immune to warfarin--apparently that gene also helps manage a vitamin K deficiency the Algerian mouse's diet has--and humans, with all of our travel and such, introduced the two species, which would not normally have come into contact with each other. The house mouse bred with the Algerian mouse, and bam: poison-immune super house mice.
This kind of evolution, in which hybridization produces a beneficial genetic makeup, is called horizontal gene transfer. It's very different from the usual style of evolution, in which beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation, and has actually never been observed before in any complex animal. Horizontal gene transfer has heretofore only been seen in microbes, so it's pretty amazing to see it in something as complex and adorable as a mouse. Of course, that may make it more difficult for bakers and MTA employees to rid their businesses and/or subway stations of rodents, but the mice are probably pleased.
The meek mouse will inherit the earth.
It's evolving and mankind isn't.
Mankind is evolving at an alarming rate. What are you talking about, giz?
While mankind is still evolving, I would argue against the statement that it is at an alarming rate. Our slow procreation cycle and long lifespans slow our evolution down signficantly. It sounds like you are referring more to the development of technologyt than the evolution of our genome..
However, the article seems to contradict itself with the statement "The house mouse bred with the Algerian mouse, and bam: poison-immune super house mice." That is NOT horizontal gene transfer. That is the standard, ages-old version of evolution, "in which beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation." If all the author is reporting is that two different breeds of mice bred with each other and yielded a new hybrid, then I fail to see the newsworthiness of this article.
Asuming the gene tree travels vertically, isn't "horizontal gene transfer" between the same generation?
Like Solus Cado, I fail to see anything different about this other then the two different species (and that is not that usual). Maybe the author thinks that the benefits from evolution are suppose to only happen over many generations, but in truth there is no reason to believe that it has to happen that way.
As for humans, yeah we are evolving, (or in some cases you might say devolving). Humans have the capacity to keep people alive that are not the fit (physically or mentally), and that action even if it is morally right, does have consequences.
This is going to be fun to show to all the creationists!
THe big deal is that there was hybrid that could have kids and that make it the frist time anyone has seen something like this.
I would think they are just not looking hard enough, since they are now saying that we most likely have Neanderthal genes in the human race.
Are you pondering what I'm pondering?? ;)
@kokofan: How so? All this proves is that the mice are still mice. This development has nothing to do with molecules-to-man evolution, which creationists reject, and everything to do with natural selection and genetics, which proper creationists do accept as good science.
I'd argue that this isn't even evolution at all. There's nothing new in the equation, just already existing genes moving around within a family of creatures. Mice went in, mice came out. The Algerian mice and German mice were, at some point in the past, the exact same mice; the only difference now is a little bit of genetic variance selected differently over time because of their different environments.
How are humans still evolving? Evolution is the process of change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species. Currently there is no "natural selection" in our modern society. We are able to keep people with inferior genes alive with medicine, surgery, and sympathy and those people have their own children. Anyone now days can find an ugly partner to spread their inferior genetic data into society (You know it's true). If anything, we are devolving as a species.
that's not evolution, that's cross breeding. its been going on since the beginning of time. what the hell?
For the commentors who aren't getting it, what makes two species two different species is the lack of ability to produce fertile offspring (though I've personally witnesses a couple of rare exceptions myself).
Usually, evolution occurs when there is a random genetic error that ends up as being useful.
In this case, a species that didn't have the gene (this isn't genetic variation, mind you, an entire species) obtained it through cross-breeding. And oddly, the cross-breeding produced fertile offspring that were actually not hybrids, but members of the first species with a single gene from the second.
If you don't get it now, you had better not be going into/already involved with genetics.
I'm going to keep this short. If the Hitler mouse had killed off all the Algerian mice. There might not be enough diversity to help the species in the long run.
I believe the environment has alot to do with the evolution of a species as does others influences, but if other genes come into play they call that "horizontal gene transfer".
Diversity is best !
Silly humans. You stopped evolving. No more natural selection. But the rest of the planet hasn't.
You're jokking say they aren't looking hard enough, right? There is an estimated 5-100 million species on Earth. We have found 2 million. I'd say they are working hard finding new species. It doesn't matter if they should have found it sooner like you impile. What matters is that they found it and this is the one that they found. All you are doing complaning like some old man.
You don't understand how evolution works well enough to understand how this is evolution. Any change in DNA is part of evolution. Part of evolution is that you are like your perants if you aren't that dispoves evolution. Or another way to put evolution if mice don't come out evolution is wrong.
Creaationists always say that to prove evolution you have to have hybrids. I think it would be fun to show them one that can have kids and do everything thay want and see the look on their faces.
I wonder what we can learn from this lesson ?
What makes this a great discovery is that it would as if a human and an ape successfully reproduced a human-ape hybrid with the strength of an ape but the mind of a human. Get it?
I might be reading the article wrong but how is this horizontal gene transfer?
to quote wikipedia:
'Horizontal gene transfer (HGT, is any process in which an organism incorporates genetic material from another organism without being the offspring of that organism. By contrast, vertical transfer occurs when an organism receives genetic material from its ancestor, e.g., its parent or a species from which it has evolved.'
So isnt this your bog standard vertical gene transfer?
Just to add a little information about evolution and HGT. Genetics goes in form of; Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. There is also Sub-family and Sub-Genus but this list will serve our purposes. The House mouse and the Algerian mouse are exactly the same in all of those except for species: House mouse is the musculus species, and the Algerian mouse is the spretus species. When two different species intertwine to make to make a new species this is called speciation, which is what happened here. In the case above, the "new" mice are 99 parts Musculus and 1 part Spretus, while they are still of the same genus the fact that they were different species still makes this evolution (speciation).
"HGT is any process in which an organism incorporates genetic material from another organism without being the offspring of that organism." (WorldIQ) jonniboif_16 is correct when thinking of the genome as a tree. It's a cross breading of species as many people have said, but is still part of evolution and HGT, attaching a simpler name to the event does not change what it is.
"Currently there is no "natural selection" in our modern society. We are able to keep people with inferior genes alive with medicine, surgery, and sympathy and those people have their own children. Anyone now days can find an ugly partner to spread their inferior genetic data into society (You know it's true). If anything, we are devolving as a species."
Our "environment" is different from that of primates from 3 million years ago. In today's environment the selective pressures are created by humans, and although they are different from the selective pressures that might have influenced our ancestors, the mechanism of evolution is the same.
Also... you have no idea what "inferior" genetic data means. In fact you have no idea what evolution actually is or how it works, apparently. "Ugly" people do not have inferior genes (i.e. an ugly person could be immune to AIDS while a 'pretty' one isn't). The word 'inferior' is meaningless without a context.
Everyone crapping out B.S. about "devolving" needs to go read up on how evolution actually works. There is no "goal" people... therefore no way to measure who is "more evolved" than another.
Everything alive today is just as evolved as everything else that's alive since it's the result of evolution since the start of life.
You MIGHT be able to argue that homo sapiens are more evolved than dinosaurs since our genes are alive and theirs aren't... but, really, what's the point other than to pat yourself on the back for something which you didn't even accomplish for yourself?
BV, you said - well a whole lot but amongst it,
"Everyone crapping out B.S. about "devolving" needs to go read up on how evolution actually works. There is no "goal" people... therefore no way to measure who is "more evolved" than another."
According to evolutionists, the "goal" is the survival in order to pass on genes. That aside, your arguments are typical of the evolutionists' desire to minimise the philosophy of evolution in the face of incalculable odds. To say that "all it means is...".
Evolutionary philosophy says that modern man evolved, bit by bit from pond slime, and before that from non-living minerals. You can't get around that. Its what it says in every form, and you can't escape that fact by majoring on the minutiae.
From pond slime to man involves an incredible amount of added information. It involves, simultaneously, a system for carrying the information and a system for decoding it. All by chance. By trial and error.
You also have to explain how (and why) history managed to wipe out every intermediate form before it could become preserved for all posterity in the fossil record. These intermediate forms should vastly outnumber the fully-evolved specimens, but no, not only do they not outnumber them in the fossil record of millions of samples - they don't even exist in said record!
"According to evolutionists, the "goal" is the survival in order to pass on genes. "
According to whom?
That is the process by which it works... not it's "goal". No more than the "goal" of gravity is to pull objects toward each other.
Stop the anthropomorphism, because you are confusing yourself.
"Evolutionary philosophy says that modern man evolved, bit by bit from pond slime, and before that from non-living minerals."
Define "life" and identify the distinct point when non-living "minerals" (I'll assume you mean materials) become alive. In case you did not notice, your entire body is made of non-living materials...
"You also have to explain how (and why) history managed to wipe out every intermediate form before it could become preserved for all posterity in the fossil record."
This statement comes from you misunderstanding of how evolution actually works.
Everything alive today is the "intermediate form" between the previous generation and the next generation.
What is the "intermediate form" between the algerian/house mice and the new species they created?
It's a nonsense thing to ask for.
Secondly, do you understand how fossils form? I mean, are you aware of the very rare circumstances required for organic matter to fossilize instead of just biodegrade?
Do you know what percentage of things alive today will become fossils?
If you want to understand "how and why" fossils are prevented from being created, go drop a dead mouse on the ground in your yard and then come back 50 years later to see if it's been fossilized or if its been scratched to bits and pieces by animals/bugs/bacteria/elements.
"These intermediate forms should vastly outnumber the fully-evolved specimens"
Once again... there is no such thing as "fully evolved" or "intermediate".
Things are as they are at a certain point in time. Our ancestors were just as "fully evolved" in their time as we are in our time, and as our progeny will be in their time.
Think of your evolutionary history as a series of points which form a line...
You are point 0. Your parents are point -1, your grandparents are point -2, your great grandparents are point -3. Your children are point 1, your great grandchildren are point 2, etc.
Do you see how ridiculous it is to claim "I want to see the fossil records for every single one of my ancestors before I'll believe I evolved".
Do you know how many fossil records that would require? Do you know how much MATTER it would take to preserve all of those specimens over the course of 4.5 billion years?
If I set 10 points on a page in front of you like this:
.......... and you are unable to connect them to form a theoretical line... there is insufficient cognitive capacity for me to explain it to you.
Thank you for taking the time to answer me with a well-thought discussion on your position.
"According to whom?" you ask. Well I answered that already with "evolutionists". Ernst Mayr is one renowned evolutionist who implies a goal to evolution. No doubt there are evolutionists with your viewpoint, and I'm happy to concede.
"Everything alive today is the "intermediate form" between the previous generation and the next generation."
You're doing it again. Most evolutionists believe the "bit by bit" to be very miniscule developments. The fact is that the fossil record doesn't show miniscule developments. What it does show are a host of "living fossils", ie specimens that were exactly the same "millions of years ago". Nothing that demonstrates even closely, your dotted line. No partially developed systems. Even although the fossil record spans, supposedly "millions of years", all specimens just happened to be caught with fully functional features and systems. The fossil record is one of stability, not change.
"Once again... there is no such thing as "fully evolved" or "intermediate"."
I agree, because evolution is itself only a philosophy, and second because no intermediate forms exist, either dead or alive.
"Do you know how much MATTER it would take to preserve all of those specimens over the course of 4.5 billion years?"
Who said anything about "ALL"? I said that intermediate forms should OUTNUMBER the fully formed specimens. The fact is that specimens have been preserved, if evolutionary philosophy were true, over your billions of years, which nullifies your argument of rarity. Why did random nature pick just those times and avoid the intermediate specimens eg, with half formed bone structures between, say the tree-dwelling reptiles (arboreal theory) and birds, or the Dromaeosaurs (cursorial theory) and birds? Incidentally, both evolutionary groups are highly hostile to each other.
There is, in fact no concensus. Your dotted line exists only in the mind, and it varies according to the mind it is in.
B.V, just a little more…
I said, “Evolutionary philosophy says that modern man evolved, bit by bit from pond slime, and before that from non-living minerals."
You answered, “Define "life" and identify the distinct point when non-living "minerals" (I'll assume you mean materials) become alive. In case you did not notice, your entire body is made of non-living materials...”
I wonder if you see how you have done it again? Avoiding the major implication by going off on a tangent. How could my answer mitigate the claim of evolution that man evolved from pond slime and non-living materials?
You ask, “Secondly, do you understand how fossils form? I mean, are you aware of the very rare circumstances required for organic matter to fossilize instead of just biodegrade?”
Actually yes, I do and I am, and the answer is why a world-wide flood – a Noahic flood - provides the very best model for the fossil record, rather than a string of rare events over millions of years which each strictly avoided fossilising half-formed systems and structures.
The Noahic flood model is not without its questions (though these are not the common ones such as "how did all the animals fit"), but these are minor when compared to the questions that evolution leaves us with.
Oh and one more... :-)
"I said, in my first post, that evolution "involves, simultaneously, a system for carrying the information and a system for decoding it. All by chance. By trial and error."
(I meant, of course "simultaneously developing")
You missed commenting on that and I would be really interested.
"You're doing it again. Most evolutionists believe the "bit by bit" to be very miniscule developments. The fact is that the fossil record doesn't show miniscule developments."
It kinda does, actually... There are fossils where you can literally watch the blowhole of aquatic mammals alive today start off at the front of the face and, over time, move back to where it is today.
No, obviously we don't have every single tiny bit of change between the fossil where the whole is "at the top of the face" to where the whole is "a little more at the top".
Are you going to claim God make 2 nearly identical animals except on one the hole was 2 inches higher than the other?
"No partially developed systems. Even although the fossil record spans, supposedly "millions of years", all specimens just happened to be caught with fully functional features and systems."
What are you talking about? What "partially functioning features" are you wanting to see?
A T-Rex with only half a skull? A whale with only half a spine?
That's not how evolution works...
"because no intermediate forms exist, either dead or alive."
No, because all things that have ever been alive are intermediate forms between two generations...
It's like you're missing the fundamental way in which evolution works.
Here's an example... Some people today, are born without wisdom teeth. It is likely that this was caused by some genetic mutation (from radiation exposure, or sun, or virus, etc.).
This mutation might have occurred many times through-out history, but since life has been MUCH harsher for humans up until a few hundred years ago, it's likely that those with wisdom teeth were better suited to survive and multiply as they needed those teeth to replace ones they lost during their harsh lives.
Today, this is not the case. In fact, it's more effort to get rid of your wisdom teeth than to not be born with them in the first place.
There is a slight advantage to people being born without wisdom teeth. This is a "slight change".
In 100 million years scientists will dig up two skeletons--one with wisdom teeth, one without wisdom teeth.
They will say "well, these are two different species" and people like you will say "BUT WHERE IS THE INTERMEDIATE SPECIES WITH ONLY HALF OF IT'S WISDOM TEETH FORMED!???"
"How could my answer mitigate the claim of evolution that man evolved from pond slime and non-living materials?"
Because the only empirically verifiable definition one can come up with for something that is "alive" has to do with the organization of non-living matter.
When you take some matter, and organize it a certain way, the energy from the sun fuels a sustained activity which we call life.
There is absolutely no reason why non-living materials can't become "living" unless you start attaching metaphysical B.S. to what it means to be "alive"
"evolution "involves, simultaneously, a system for carrying the information and a system for decoding it. All by chance. By trial and error."
This isn't a biology classroom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA
It's an electrochemical reaction between some organized non-alive matter.
So far every comment I have ever seen you write has been negative.
Stop being part of the problem
Sorry? I'm not your kindergarten teacher to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside about how unique and special and gifted you are.
If you spout B.S. I will call you on it. If you don't like that, then don't reveal your opinions by expressing them in a public forum.
If you are genuinely ignorant on something (as I am on many subjects), then just ask a question and if I have information about it, I will be glad to share.
But I'm not going to feed into anyone's self-delusions, and if you can't handle that then go back to watching Barney.