By Lynn Margulis
From one of many nice iconoclasts of recent biology, Lynn Margulis, a groundbreaking new conception of the origins of species
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Additional resources for Acquiring Genomes. A Theory of the Origin of Species
When sufficient numbers of changes in offspring populations accumulate, higher (more inclusive) taxa gradually appear. Over geological periods of time new species and higher taxa (genera, families, orders, classes, phyla, and so on) are easily distinguished from their ancestors. We agree that very few potential offspring ever survive to reproduce and that populations do change through time, and that therefore natural selection is of critical importance to the evolutionary process. But this Darwinian claim to explain all of evolution is a popular half-truth whose lack of explicative power is compensated for only by the religious ferocity of its rhetoric.
Few beings, reader, are more complex than you. In this book we argue that to understand the true complexity of life—the main source of evolutionary novelty Charles Darwin sought—one must understand how organisms come together in new and fascinating ways, and how their genes are donated and acquired. This then will be the story of how species, and speciation itself, evolved through the acquisition of genomes. With more than a century of observation and experimentation by scientists around the world, and intense communication among them, let us now explain how new species come into being.
Lamarckian inheritance is the inheritance of modified phenotypes, while symbiogenesis involves the inheritance of incorporated parts of genomes. Perhaps the greatest merit of this book is that it introduces the reader to the fascinating world of the microbes. ) about this world. The authors do not limit their account to symbiogenesis but also provide an enthralling description of protists and bacteria. What biologist realizes that animals have only a single set of metabolic pathways while different kinds of bacteria have more than twenty fundamentally different ones?