Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to ID?

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Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to ID?

#1

Post by Silverfang » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:49 am

OK so I was on a sonic(yes, sonic the hedgehog of all things) forum just checking what's new and stuff, and I came across this.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/ ... llularity/

and me I'm like "oh cool, something that has to do with science" because their conversations regarding science are interesting most of the time. I then went on ahead to check out the thread, I was slightly turned off at the somewhat atheistic, condescending Opening Post (which is unusual for that forum). So now I'm wondering "so how does this somehow affect creationists or ID in general". Here's one response


"Forgive me for being scientifically dense but what does this actually mean for us?"

"It means we can actually observe the process of evolution, of a leap from single-celled to multi-cellular organisms, something that creationists have long held to be impossible due to the lengths of time often involved."


Soooo your thoughts? Also forgive me for being so dense and having to turn towards you guys for answers almost all the time.
Last edited by Silverfang on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular

#2

Post by Silverfang » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:21 pm

Anyone?

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular

#3

Post by dayage » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:52 pm

I sent a link to Dr. Rana. Hope to here something soon.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular

#4

Post by Stu » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:57 pm

The guys over at Uncommon Descent have had a few words regards this, perhaps you'll find it interesting:
Did recent yeast experiment really shed much light on multicellularity?

Someone who I respect a lot (for his ability to think beyond the pack mentality) is Michael Behe, his take:
More Darwinian Degradation: Much Ado about Yeast

Bottom line is that it was a loss of fitness that caused the cells to bond.
Sorry for all the 'links' but I've been quite busy lately so don't really have time to read all the articles atm..
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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular

#5

Post by Ivellious » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:13 pm

Wow, I can't believe I hadn't heard more about this until now (considering I take classes down the hall from this lab). I think it's certainly a step in developing experimental evidence for the evolution of multi-cellular organisms. It's not perfect, but the criticism in the two articles that Stu posted are a little off.

Behe first makes one think that the experiment is invalid because it was done using yeast...which is ludicrous because you obviously can't try to replicate the transition between uni-cellular and multi-cellular life using more complex organisms. Then he makes a personal attack on someone completely unrelated to the project (which is just stupid). Then, he ridiculously oversimplifies the experiment to make it sound unintelligent and pointless (as if he were appealing to the commonfolk). He claims the results were a result of the loss of two cellular functions as well, again suggesting that it devalues the result. On the contrary, if that loss of function lead to the ability to form a single multi-cellular being, then I see no problem there. It's simply demonstrating a way that it could have occurred. Also, he criticizes the team for not doing genetic testing on the new organisms. That work is currently in progress in another lab at the University, among other follow-up experiments.

The uncommon Descent article just quotes Behe. Maybe he could teach them something about "thinking outside the pack mentality." ;) They also note that yeast acts as colonies sometimes, but they don't mention that the organisms made in the experiment were explicitly not colonies, instead acting and functioning like early multi-cellular organisms. There is a difference, and a significant one at that.

It's not perfect, however. Obviously the key now is to work on 1) How the new multi-cellular organisms can continue to live, develop, adapt, and mutate; and 2) Determine the precise reasoning and methodology and pressures that caused or facilitated the change.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular

#6

Post by sandy_mcd » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:07 pm

I don't understand Behe's objections:

1) Loss of 10% fitness. The cells that survived this artificial crisis were not the most fit cells for the normal environment. They were the cells that were able to behave differently.
2) As Ivellious points out, it is a form of multicellularness. It doesn't matter how it arose, the experiment presumably demonstrates it is possible, especially if the claim of different roles for different cells is upheld.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#7

Post by Ivellious » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:10 pm

Oh and for the record, the ability for these results to be replicated for this experiment is no longer an issue...I have a few friends taking a course where they had to demonstrate this experiment's replicability, and it succeeded.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#8

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:35 pm

I was under the impression that skepticism was a virtue. Should we immediately take any potential evidence that enhances our worldview and adopt it without question? That seems silly for anyone, religions or non.
Ivellious wrote:Behe first makes one think that the experiment is invalid because it was done using yeast...which is ludicrous because you obviously can't try to replicate the transition between uni-cellular and multi-cellular life using more complex organisms.
Are we reading the same link? He doesn't say it is invalid anywhere.
Ivellious wrote:Then he makes a personal attack on someone completely unrelated to the project (which is just stupid).
Were you referring to: "It seems to me that Richard Lenski, who knows how to get the most publicity out of exceedingly modest laboratory results, has taught his student well."

That isn't a personal attack and it isn't on someone who is unrelated. Everyone seems to be jumping for joy with these results. I thought science was impartial.
Ivellious wrote:Then, he ridiculously oversimplifies the experiment to make it sound unintelligent and pointless (as if he were appealing to the commonfolk). He claims the results were a result of the loss of two cellular functions as well, again suggesting that it devalues the result. On the contrary, if that loss of function lead to the ability to form a single multi-cellular being, then I see no problem there. It's simply demonstrating a way that it could have occurred.
Behe is an expert in the area of single cell mutations, if you are familiar with any of his work. We have plenty of experimental evidence that shows that species can evolve defects that enhance them in some way but make them less likely to survive. That isn't evidence of macro evolution because for it to occur the benefits have to outweigh the defects by so significant an amount that they will survive over a very long period of time.
Ivellious wrote:Also, he criticizes the team for not doing genetic testing on the new organisms. That work is currently in progress in another lab at the University, among other follow-up experiments.
Then it is too early to say anything about this. Again... where's the skepticism if the most essential issue here hasn't been determined. Evolution requires DNA changes. They haven't identified the changes yet. How is this news?
Ivellious wrote:It's not perfect, however. Obviously the key now is to work on 1) How the new multi-cellular organisms can continue to live, develop, adapt, and mutate; and 2) Determine the precise reasoning and methodology and pressures that caused or facilitated the change.
How about making step one into "were there actual changes to DNA" or "how can evolution occur if mutation makes the species weaker"?

Again... why is this so exciting yet? I thought people who jumped immediately on a piece of information supporting their worldview just aren't skeptical enough. Why is skepticism so unevenly applied?
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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#9

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:43 pm

Perhaps another good question is: If this doesn't prove macro-evolution, will any of you change your minds? Or will you continue to believe in a science-of-the-gaps?

If it won't change your minds, will you allow those you disagree with to believe in [something]-of-the-gaps even when their arguments are shut down by evidence?
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#10

Post by Ivellious » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:53 pm

I don't have time to address your first points right now but your second post is totally invalid...Even if this doesn't turn out to be proof, it doesn't mean that science will never ever have it. That'd be like saying to Newton "So your first few experiments trying to demonstrate gravity failed, obviously no one will ever prove it. Gravity must be false"

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#11

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:18 pm

Ivellious wrote:I don't have time to address your first points right now but your second post is totally invalid...Even if this doesn't turn out to be proof, it doesn't mean that science will never ever have it. That'd be like saying to Newton "So your first few experiments trying to demonstrate gravity failed, obviously no one will ever prove it. Gravity must be false"
Invalid? I pointed out a common logical fallacy. One normally pointed out about Christians but equally applicable to naturalists.

I propose a new force called "The Force". It is rare to find evidence for the most part but some people have access to it and can do mysterious things. You will find in your experiments that it doesn't exist, but don't give up! Just because your experiments fail doesn't mean that The Force doesn't exist. It just means science hasn't explained it yet!

In seriousness, do you see the 'gaps' fallacy? You could take literally any position and just say 'someday we will understand that we are right, even if we don't have evidence now'. It is an appeal to an imaginary future as evidence for your claim.
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#12

Post by zoegirl » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:00 pm

The one objection that I would agree with would be that yeast cells have been known to clump together before this, so it's not a novel characteristics, really. What you are selecting for is merely the ability to clump. You aren't seeing solely unicellular organisms with novel abilities.

I would be very curious, though, to see the type of differentiation that occurred within the cells, which would be far more supportive of the evolution of multi-cellularity.

Interesting, though.

The 10% less fitness, though, doesn't seem to be a suggestion. Fitness is always a relative term, and depends upon the environment. You don't always have to have the best hand in poker, you just have to have the best hand compared to the others.
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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#13

Post by sandy_mcd » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:10 pm

MarcusOfLycia wrote: Everyone seems to be jumping for joy with these results. I thought science was impartial.
Science is. Scientists are not. Most scientists are in science because they enjoy it, not for the money or popular acclaim.
We have plenty of experimental evidence that shows that species can evolve defects that enhance them in some way but make them less likely to survive. That isn't evidence of macro evolution because for it to occur the benefits have to outweigh the defects by so significant an amount that they will survive over a very long period of time.
It depends on the environment. In this case (artificial as it is) the ability to clump allowed the yeast to survive. The yeast Behe and you refer to as more fit didn't. So I would suggest that rather than being "10% less fit" the surviving yeast are more fit (as Zoegirl also points out).
"how can evolution occur if mutation makes the species weaker"?
Large animals are much more susceptible to being wiped out than bugs or bacteria. Yet no one thinks large animals evolved before single celled organisms. So I think "weaker" needs to be defined a little bit more clearly.
why is this so exciting yet? I thought people who jumped immediately on a piece of information supporting their worldview just aren't skeptical enough. Why is skepticism so unevenly applied?
Well, it is preliminary evidence of something that fits into a proposed model. Early reporting of results prevents the author from being scooped, helps in generating research interest and funds, lets other people know what work is being done.
As I pointed out earlier, the claim of differentiation is more important than the clumping.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#14

Post by Ivellious » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:14 pm

The 10% loss of fitness is interesting, but I don't think it's as big of a deal as Behe said. My reasoning is that the yeast cells used in this experiment are, for all intensive purposes, extremely successful organisms. The if 10% less individual new organisms live, that's still probably a remarkable number. One also needs to realize that in this case, evolution doesn't require the new species to necessarily be more successful than the predecessor. But if it is 90% as successful, that's still extremely successful, and certainly not a large enough drop to hinder its ability to live and reproduce.

As far as you issue with clumping, Zoegirl, their research clearly defines that the cells are not simply clumping or forming colonies. They are legitimately a single entity. Like you said, it could make it much more interesting if these organisms have developed specialization of individual cells.

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Re: Humans cause yeast to become multicellular, a threat to

#15

Post by zoegirl » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:36 pm

Right, so I just think that this has limitations as to it's conclusions
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