October 4, 2007

SOMEBODY OWES THE DOVER SCHOOL BOARD AN APOLOGY:

A god of small things: Natural selection in the laboratory creates a new species of virus (The Economist, 10/04/07)

FOR most people, the idea of isolation is an uncomfortable one. It interests Paul Turner, however, because it goes hand in hand with the formation of new species. Dr Turner is a biologist at Yale University, and he and his team have just become the first people to create a new biological species in a laboratory by encouraging the sort of ecological isolation that happens in the wild. Admittedly the species in question is a virus, but the proof of principle is important.

The principle being that intelligent beings can design a "species"?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 4, 2007 2:17 PM
Comments

"encouraging the sort of ecological isolation that happens in the wild" meaning only, away from human civilization. I've never seen ecological isolation, and if you have, then it doesn't exist anymore because it has been spoiled, so who can say what ecological isolation is (even if it's just some imaginery place, that never existed)?

Posted by: KRS at October 4, 2007 2:48 PM

I found this to be amusing recently: http://www.hawaii.edu/malamalama/2007/09/researchnews.html#fountain

"Typically, species experience genetic change as they adapt to the local conditions of different environments. But Pennisetum setaceum appears to be a super-genotype, pre-adapted to thrive under a broad range of ecological conditions."

Too, too funny. "Pre-adapted"!!!!! Awesome.

Posted by: b at October 4, 2007 3:01 PM

It's Prevolved.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2007 4:18 PM

There's a huge difference between isolating a geographic area to see if speciesization occurs, and actively "designing" a species.

KRS is being intentionally ignorant. Obviously, once contact occurs an area is no longer isolated. But there are plenty of examples of specific areas being isolated from others and forming fairly unique ecosystems with species found only there and which would not survive elsewhere (and indeed often become extinct after contact). This happens mainly on islands. Whether a system is isolated or not can change greatly over geographic time, but to pretend it doesn't exist is fairly stupid.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 4, 2007 5:52 PM

No Man (bacterium) is an island, Chris. Once we're there it's over for whatever is there. That's all I'm saying. Even the Moon isn't safe-we're going back.

Posted by: KRS at October 4, 2007 6:00 PM

Islands aren't isolated.

Posted by: oj at October 4, 2007 7:15 PM

I admit I haven't had much biology, but do they really apply the term "species" to a virus? I thought it only applied to plants and animals that can interbreed.

Posted by: Randall Voth at October 5, 2007 1:29 AM

As Darwinism fails the term "species" comes to mean anything that might salvage something of the theory.

Posted by: oj at October 5, 2007 6:56 AM

I doubt its a new species,just because it no longer replicates in a certain bacteria? Please, reminds me of the phony bacteria from Mars story.

Posted by: Brian at October 5, 2007 7:00 AM
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