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Author Topic: Life is such a weird idea, is bacteria even weirder ?  (Read 3064 times)

Offline yor_on

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I've seen it recently in a lot of different ways, from science programs to Bacteria ‘R’ Us..

And you know what, it makes sense. From a evolutionary viewpoint all of the bacteria and viruses etc we have, have evolved with us. Ah well, it's at least interesting :)

So what do you think, is bacteria 'intelligent'?


 

Offline Variola

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Life is such a weird idea, is bacteria even weirder ?
« Reply #1 on: 12/05/2011 08:41:45 »
Intelligent is not quite the right word to use, as to us it means capable of thought and reasoning. Bacteria 'think' in a different way to us, as a result of their complex transcriptional networks.

Have a read of this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorum_sensing#Bacteria

Quorum sensing is one of the most fascinating things bacteria do, it is their way of communicating with each other and working as a unit rather than as individual cells.
They are also supremely efficient at doing what is best for them as individuals, to ensure maximum growth and multiplication. It can be a headache when you are trying to persuade them to do something else...  :)
 

Offline yor_on

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Life is such a weird idea, is bacteria even weirder ?
« Reply #2 on: 14/05/2011 19:24:36 »
Thanks Variola. I found the article absolutely fascinating. One could also ask oneself if we need 'intelligence', as we define it, for getting 'intelligent designs'? :)

It's a incredible organization hidden there, and I can't help wondering if all us 'higher animals' somehow evolved due to the needs of 'lower lifeforms'. In a way it makes me think of a world wide web, of what we call simple bacterias, somehow creating the complexity we become out of their needs. Seems very fractal to me in some strange biological way. This is what really set me imagination of.

"Achieving genetic diversity is a whole different thing. Most eukaryotes engage in sex, which combines reproduction with genetic mixing. This produces offspring carrying half of each parent’s genes. But bacteria don’t have sex, they transfer genes among themselves horizontally — and they do a lot of transferring. The primary method most bacteria use is called “conjugation,” a process in which genetic material is transferred between two bacteria that are in contact. It’s as close as they come to sex (although, as far as we know, lacking the romance; it’s more like downloading handy little apps from a cool website). In principle, every bacterium can exchange genes with every other bacterium on the planet. A side effect of this reality: The notion of separate bacterial species is somewhat shaky, although the term is still in use for lack of a better alternative.

And bacteria don’t just get together for “file sharing.” Even before quorum sensing was discovered in V. fischeri, scientists had noted many examples of coordinated action, such as “swarming,” in which a colony of bacteria moves as a unit across a surface, and the development of “fruiting bodies,” in which bacteria glom together to form inert spores as a means of surviving severe environmental conditions. Since the dominant paradigm assumed that bacteria were dumb, discrete individuals, these phenomena tended to be glossed over until Vibrio‘s highly sophisticated census-taking focused new attention on coordinated bacterial behavior. Group behavior has now been demonstrated so widely that many microbiologists view bacteria as multicellular organisms, much of whose activity — from gene swapping to swarming to biofilm construction — is mediated by a wide variety of chemical communications.

Bacteria use chemicals to talk to each other and to nonbacterial cells as well. These exchanges work much as human language does, says Herbert Levine of the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics. With colleagues from Tel Aviv University, Levine proposed in the August 2004 Trends in Microbiology that bacteria “maintain linguistic communication,” enabling them to engage in intentional behavior both singly and in groups. In other words, they have “social intelligence.”"

Now, we use our definition for what is intelligence when measuring other primates etc. Maybe that's a rather stupid idea, maybe we should stop to assume that there is only one way to exist, and that 'intelligence' need to be defined as we find it to be? A quantum computer is no intelligence as we define it, yet it will be able to answer questions we can't. And maybe those bacterias, viruses etc all have purposes we don't see yet. We're all here together, and have been so from the very start.
« Last Edit: 14/05/2011 20:41:36 by yor_on »
 

Offline kenhikage

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Life is such a weird idea, is bacteria even weirder ?
« Reply #3 on: 25/05/2011 13:48:43 »
It's easier just to think of eukariotic organisms as a groups of bacteria. Many of our functions ad a "whole" are comparable to bacterial societies.
 

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Life is such a weird idea, is bacteria even weirder ?
« Reply #3 on: 25/05/2011 13:48:43 »

 

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