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Proceedings Paper

GTOs and HGT: genes are older than expected and can be installed by horizontal gene transfer, especially with help from viruses
Author(s): Brig Klyce
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Paper Abstract

The origin of life on Earth took a puzzlingly short time. Panspermia is appealing because it means that the origin of life need not be confined to a few million years on one planet. Similar puzzles arise in the evolution of higher life forms. Punctuated equilibrium, for example, seems to violate the darwinian account of gradual evolution by trial-and-error, a few DNA nucleotides at a time. The strong version of panspermia alleviates this puzzle as well. If all of life comes ultimately from space, genes may appear to be older than necessary, evolution by the acquisition of whole genes or suites of genes, by horizontal gene transfer (HGT), becomes much more important, and punctuated equilibrium is not surprising. Does evidence support this supposition? How common are old genes? How important is HGT versus the gradual composition of genetic programs? We will look at these questions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 October 2012
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8521, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV, 85210C (15 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.930131
Show Author Affiliations
Brig Klyce, Astrobiology Research Trust (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8521:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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