Genetic Evolution and Survival of the fittest. How fit are We to compete with the new? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Just a thought, when talking about genetic manipulation, it seems to me that it is coming to a point where it looks like “survival of the fittest” means being prepared to a new type of natural pressure. And that pressure is not coming from being forced to adapt the metabolism to new demands due to alterations in the genotype as a result of environmentally induced mutagenesis, faulty transcription, missed repositioning of genes and environmental pressure involved in genotype evolution. We are facing a time in which we are beginning to play X-factor or “gene-factor”, in genetic evolution.
The next step in genetic evolution is not going to have any previous branch in evolution where to be linked with. Instead there will be a new evolutionary tree built upon the names of those companies selecting and creating varieties adding their commercial names. And that creates a new “environmental pressure” in genetic evolution. So, if survival of the fittest used to define the organism being better adapted to environmental pressure, now, is it going to be the one winning the program behind the “Gene-factor“.
Good or bad, we have to bear in mind that evolution starts with adapting changes in molecular demand into a metabolism design. There is no survival in an individual capable of synthesising a protein for which the energy and carbon demands collapses the expression of other proteins involved in key areas of energy production and assimilation. It is not also an adaptation of characteristics linked with self-preservation against predators or environmental demands (soil, water supply …). There is a completely new concept of pressure coming from having to be able of accommodating metabolic alterations in order to survive to man selected genetic new demands.
Since there is a new design being forced to express the result from combining snippets of code from completely different species, even inserting animal DNA into plants, that means introducing the capability of generating molecules with a structure ready to affect the metabolism of organisms sharing genetic origin. So we can have plants producing biopharmaceutical compounds like antibiotics, good for animal health, at the same time that there will be plants producing toxins, bad for animal health (designed for pest control).
Therefore, now we might be putting enough pressure to make plants to evolve their molecular performance to a new level allowing inter-kingdom gene-transference. If so, we will have to admit that we have helped evolution to be in place in a period of time much shorter than the one our metabolism might need to adapt to the new amount of molecular compounds created in our environment by the new species resultant (biopharmaceutical compounds e.g. antibiotics, and toxins).
Our immune system reacts against molecules that recognise as invasive or harmful triggering allergenic reactions. Vegetables particles such as those found in pollen and vegetables should not be identified by our immune system as harmful since the proteins and molecules contained are part of a different biological kingdom which had a completely different evolutionary path. That has built barriers of interference allowing maximizing efforts for the “survival of the fittest” into separated compartments, like being the best under different rules for different sports.
But, we are mixing players from different “sports” following different “rules”. Uniting animal and plant genes. It could be said that “genes are just genes”, but, are we allowing unification between kingdoms to compete for the “survival of the fittest”? If so, how fit are we as specie to compete with the new gene pool being generated?
Just a thought. I am just trying to identify gaps of knowledge bringing my thoughts public so everybody can give me references to rethink and increase my limited knowledge.