Darwin’s Theories Of Evolution
Did you know that Darwin was wrong about evolution?
Yes, that’s right, Darwin’s theories of evolution as presented in his groundbreaking book On Origin of Species which was published in 1869 is wrong. When it was initially published, the book contained many new and radical theories about the ways in which species arrived on Earth which shocked the scientific community. It challenged the previously held beliefs which were a few millennia old. These beliefs stated that God created the world and all living things in this world. But Darwin presented the theories of evolution in his new book which stated that all living species change over time, and that these changes accumulate over time and are passed down through the generations. If enough of these changes occur, according to the tenets of ‘survival of the fittest’ they result in new species emerging. These theories have long been accepted by biologists and genetic scientists, but new research into the human genome is revealing evidence which is fast challenging these theories and beliefs. This evidence and their interpretations are the subject of this article.
The real truth behind ‘evolution’
New technologies which have driven new and groundbreaking research into the human genome, known as the human genome project, have generated evidence which seems to contradict the basic tenets of the premises which support the theory of evolution. This has lead many scientists to question how species really change and how speciation really occurs. For example, scientists and geneticists have been able to use gene editing tools known as CRISPR to experiment with genes in humans and lab animals. They have found that certain bacteria known as transposons, which are euphemistically dubbed as ‘kissing bugs’ can transfer genes from one living species into another. Darwin’s theory of evolution has no explanation for this because it maintains that transfer of genes only occurs through vertical transfer when genes are passed from one generation to the next – from parent to offspring.
When Darwin formulated his theories which formed the central ‘theory of evolution’ he based them on his observation of a limited but diverse number of species which lived on the Galapagos Island at the time. He used the long-standing tree of life (which first appeared in The Book of Revelations) as the foundation for his theories. This tree of life became the backdrop against which he formed his theories which formed the basis of ‘the theory of evolution!’
However, being that he was a medical school dropout at a time when advanced medical knowledge was basic and primitive, he did not have access to the vast reservoirs of scientific information, or the insights which scientists and geneticists do today. Therefore, he was unaware of the ways in which genes interact with each other. He also had no idea that genes can ‘jump’ from one living species to another. In other words, he was unaware of the ways in which major genes found in a fly can be transferred into a human.
Archaea drives evolution!
Archaea, what is that? A microbiologist named Carl Woese did research at The University of Illinois at Urbana in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He dissected the living cells of thousands of organisms from all families and of all species because he was in search of the one single molecule which could be found in all life forms on Earth. He did this because he was very interested in learning as much as he could about the evolution of life on young Earth almost four billion years ago. He found, after he separated the genetic ‘letters’ found common to all organisms on Earth, assembled them into paragraphs, and compared and contrasted them, that all living things (on Earth) contained an element called archaea (which looked like bacteria, but was not) which drove their evolution on Earth. He referred to these archaea as the ‘third kingdom of life.’
Genes tend to be transferred horizontally and not vertically
New evidence from the latest in scientific research is revealing that gene transfer tends to be horizontal and not vertical. As mentioned earlier, vertical transfer of genes occurs when genes are transferred from an organism to its offspring, but horizontal transfer occurs when these genes are transferred from one living organism to another (which usually belong to different species). Genes can even be transferred horizontally from living species in one kingdom to another! Horizontal transfer of genes erases the boundaries which scientists and geneticists long thought existed between and among different species. These professionals felt that these boundaries made this type of horizontal transfer impossible. However, evidence from recent research reveals that genes found in the fruit fly can easily be transferred to the house fly. This same type of transfer of genes also happens in animals, plants, and more complex species (read lions, elephants, giraffes, and even humans!) These genes are generally transferred through infection causing bacteria, or by parasites.
Transposons hold the key to horizontal gene transfer!
No discussion on horizontal gene transfer would be complete without the inclusion of transposons. What are transposons? Well, they are long sections of DNA which leave one organism from one species and enter into an organism from another species. Scientists refer to them as ‘space invaders’ for this reason. These transposons are transferred from different species, from a mosquito to a human through a special insect which scientists and geneticists refer to as a ‘kissing bug.’ This ‘kissing bug’ bites different organisms from different species. With the example of the mosquito and the human, the ‘kissing bug’ would bite the mosquito, suck its blood, and some of its transposons. It would then bite a human and transfer some of the mosquito’s blood and transposons to the human through his or her bloodstream. Vital genes from the mosquito would be transferred to the human being and these genes could begin to make slight (and barely noticeable but important) changes in the human being’s DNA as a result. These newly transferred and changed genes, and the modified DNA would then be passed on to the human’s children through the process of vertical transfer.
How new evidence is changing our understanding of natural selection
Natural selection, or nature selecting only the fittest organisms in a species for survival, is one of the cornerstones of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Natural selection revolves around the notion of ‘survival of the fittest’ or the idea that only the strongest and most fit organisms of any species survive long enough to reproduce and pass their beneficial genes onto the next generation through vertical transfer (of genes.) Scientists and geneticists are realizing that this idea needs to be modified to accommodate the reality of horizontal gene transfer because this can play a large role in determining which organisms are the fittest and survive best in their natural environment. Horizontal gene transfer can not only cause a species to evolve rapidly because it transfers huge lumps of gene changing material into their DNA suddenly, but it can also cause a species of different organisms to appear quite suddenly! In either instance, natural selection acts as a process of evolutionary change which largely shapes and determines the destiny of these organisms.
Organisms have bacteria and viruses in their DNA
These bacteria and viruses produce the phenotypic changes which drive the evolutionary process. Every living creature has billions of viruses and bacteria living on every square inch of its body. These bacteria and viruses help these creatures survive! Scientists and geneticists believe that these bacteria and viruses can play a key role in initiating the genetic changes (and their associated phenotypic expressions) which drive the evolutionary process and speciation.
As a final note, new research into the genomes of humans and other organisms is revealing that evolution occurs in dramatic new ways which scientists and geneticists never thought possible. One of these new ways includes horizontal gene transfer. Scientists, geneticists, and the overall human understanding of evolution is bound to change dramatically with the discovery of transposons, ‘kissing bugs’ and horizontal gene transfer as a result!