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 Eternal lifespan, bacteria and natural selection 
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
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Post Eternal lifespan, bacteria and natural selection
I've been pondering if it is possible that there could be bacteria with eternal - or at least very long - lifespans. If this trait is favored for by natural selection they should very probably exist. So the question is: Does natural selection favor this trait? On one hand a longer lifespan gives the organism more time to spawn. On the other hand it would probably be more complex and therefore more demanding on its environment. It would also die just the same when living conditions change. This being said organisms often seem to carry more capable functionality than they need and maybe the machinery needed for longevity isn't that taxing.

We have only very recently begun to look at what species of bacteria there actually are. As much strange functionality as is contained in some organisms anyway. Isn't it possible that there are species of bacteria with extremely good error correcting capabilities and internal clock-resets which would allow them to live for a very long time?

Or is there some obvious reason why extremely long lifespans go against natural selection?

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Mon May 26, 2008 2:23 pm
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 7:07 pm
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Post Re: Eternal lifespan, bacteria and natural selection
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere

Quote:
This mechanism usually limits cells to a fixed number of divisions, and animal studies suggest that this is responsible for aging on the cellular level and affects lifespan.


long time ago since i read about it... :x

intresting stuff all this biostuff. surley next human major scientific/technological advance


Mon May 26, 2008 7:15 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
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Location: Sweden
Post Re: Eternal lifespan, bacteria and natural selection
apopTechsis wrote:
intresting stuff all this biostuff. surley next human major scientific/technological advance

I feel the same way. I want the garagebiology movement to seriously take off now. I think that in the same way as in the early days of personal computers that's where the innovative solutions and future industries will come from.

Right now garagebiology feels a bit like computer culture year 1978, it's at the 'Homebrew Computer Club' level. Few know it even exists, ten years ago prerequisites for it didn't exist.

On telomerase:
It is interesting. We just need(for other reasons too) to find an elegant fix for cancer first. :wink:

- Splicer

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Tue May 27, 2008 9:19 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:29 pm
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Post Re: Eternal lifespan, bacteria and natural selection
Splicer wrote:
I've been pondering if it is possible that there could be bacteria with eternal - or at least very long - lifespans. If this trait is favored for by natural selection they should very probably exist. So the question is: Does natural selection favor this trait? On one hand a longer lifespan gives the organism more time to spawn. On the other hand it would probably be more complex and therefore more demanding on its environment. It would also die just the same when living conditions change. This being said organisms often seem to carry more capable functionality than they need and maybe the machinery needed for longevity isn't that taxing.

We have only very recently begun to look at what species of bacteria there actually are. As much strange functionality as is contained in some organisms anyway. Isn't it possible that there are species of bacteria with extremely good error correcting capabilities and internal clock-resets which would allow them to live for a very long time?

Or is there some obvious reason why extremely long lifespans go against natural selection?



It all depends on what you mean by 'eternal' or long life. Sure, a species that could stand extreme cold by making itself dormant could live a very long time until more favorable climates exist.

But, continued active existence doesn't sound very feasible due to, as you stated, the biological entity becoming to much of a tax on it's environment.

However, a species that can reset it's own genetic clock once it reaches an evolutionary stand still does sound like it could continue existence.

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Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:05 am
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