3 Adaptations That Animals Have That Plants Do Not Have Death, Aging, Rejuvenation (Part 2)

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Death, Aging, Rejuvenation (Part 2)


Death. Why does it happen? Why do we die? Why do animals die? Why do plants die? What is the need for this? In my opinion, the mechanism of death was selected during Evolution.

From the standpoint of Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, everything that benefits the survival of the species and favors natural selection is preserved in subsequent generations.

Improvements were often left unchanged from the moment life appeared. Although there could have been other ways, certain mechanisms were chosen by accident. These improvements are reproduced in the genome of more complex species. Billions of years ago, according to the theory of evolution, chemicals were randomly organized into a self-replicating molecule.

Lights and UV radiation helped create the first organic molecules. This phenomenon is reproducible in a laboratory. The experiments were described in the 1950s and 1960s.

The first self-replicating molecules were probably RNA. The first enzymes were probably RNA – enzymes. Then proteins, DNA, and more complex lipid and polysaccharide molecules came on the scene.

Death as it is did not exist in the scene of “The First Soup”. Of course some organic molecules were destroyed, some new ones were created. But overall it was still that primordial soup swirling and bubbling—almost alive in our sense as a mixture of biochemical reactions.

Everything in evolution was built from previously randomly chosen blocks.

The appearance of lipid membranes allows the separation of primary fluid and the creation of the first cells.

At the cellular stage we can already talk about Death. The cell is destroyed, the membrane is broken, everything has flowed out. This is Death.

The contents of the cell within the lipid membrane are irradiated. The process of crazy molecular rotation is perturbed by free radicals irreversibly. This is also a sign of death.

However, in the cellular phase we cannot talk about aging. Death at this stage is accidental, not programmed.

Organic molecules can age (oxidation, conjugation, etc.) and the cell will die. But the damaged molecule is usually repaired or synthesized fresh. Therefore, there is no good reason for a single-celled organism to age. Irreparable damage from an external cause leads to death, not aging. This is accidental death. For multicellular organisms, there is a parent organism that ages and eventually dies after the next generation is born. For unicellular organism, there is a parent organism that divides and becomes the next generation. There is no aging that leads to the death of the parent organism.

Single-celled organisms are virtually immortal in the right environment.

The mechanism of division was selected during evolution. The cell has (3-D) volume. Surface membrane is measured in square (2-D) units. Overgrowth causes insufficient food supply from the environment. Separation solves the problem.

Germs, bacteria are immortal. Some are split every 20 minutes. In one hour they multiply 8 times.

Tumor cells divide more slowly. They are eukaryotes. The most aggressive split once a day. No need for aging.

They would die if you didn’t feed them. They die when you kill them with undiluted bleach in a flask. Otherwise they grow unstoppable. There is no aging.

The multicellular organism is supposed to have some control mechanisms to prevent excessive growth and division, to kill an extra cell. Apoptosis, programmed death, is used.

Cancer cells often lose control mechanisms.

A scientist from Yale once pointed out to me that we cannot say that these cells are immortal. Perhaps they divide and the parent cell dies. Really. We do not follow the fate of each individual cell during experiments. They must give the children more cells than the parent cells die. Otherwise there would be no multiplication. It’s a possible scenario. We don’t even follow the fate of individual bacteria. Maybe they really do undergo aging.

On the other hand, some experiments suggest that the new cells contain approximately half of the parent cell after division. So it is not Death or Aging. Subsequent generations contain 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 and so on of the parent cell. Any mechanism that is more complex than simple segregation would cause a disadvantage in evolution and would be quickly eliminated. At the level of the single-celled organism, neither aging nor apoptosis make much sense. Although Nature often has hidden reasons.

The Flick phenomenon and telomere shortening make sense for a multicellular organism. The cells of the multicellular organism age. They stop dividing after about 70 divisions.

A multicellular organism has a clear advantage over a single cell.

Why would the mechanism of death be selected for multicellular organisms? The scenario could be as follows.

The large organism has more advantages compared to the smaller one – stability, protection, etc. There aren’t that many natural enemies for the whale or the elephant because of their size. Large animals can be destroyed by bacteria, viruses, small parasites and lack of available food. Whale or elephant attack rare predators.

It’s no wonder that evolution was moving in the direction of larger animals – just look at the giant bones of dinosaurs and you’ll feel some appreciation.

Millions of years ago, not only dinosaurs, but also insects or crustaceans were large. One meter (3 feet) sized cockroaches, spiders or dragonflies. Going back in time, we find the shells of large clams. Many things mean that larger animals with unstoppable growth have many advantages over smaller ones. New species often evolve in size. An example is growth spurt in humans. Females prefer taller mates which lead to taller children. Shorter plants usually cannot compete with taller forms in nature. A short mutant in a section of tall plants would be weeded out

The mechanism of reproduction was also selected during evolution. Every new animal, whether mouse or human, begins life as a single cell. That cell differentiates and develops into a complete animal. It ensures that a rare favorable sequence of DNA variants will spread rapidly by natural selection. It’s much easier to reproduce and maybe get some new genes or favorable mutations starting from a single cell than it is to start from a whole multicellular organism. The functions of most genes will have been optimized by mutation and random selection of points in any given species. Signaling between cells during the development process ensures that everything ends up in the right place. Small changes in these signaling processes can have very large effects on the resulting animal. The genome, with as many as forty-sixty thousand genes, is able to specify the creation of a human body containing trillions of cells, billions of carefully connected neurons, and hundreds of different cell types, all amazingly sculpted into organs. different like liver and brain. . That is why the mechanism of proliferation of fertilized oocytes was chosen.

Therefore, it makes sense to have younger (smaller) and older (bigger) animals.

But there is a problem: adult animals (or plants) consume all the food around and there is not much left for the next generation.

This is why the Death Mechanism was chosen as a means of creating the next generation.

Imagine the following:

First, the propagation mechanism was chosen. If the unicellular organism has no reproductive mechanism, it does not produce offspring with potentially favorable mutations. Let’s say there are primitive bacteria spontaneously created in the primitive soup. Only a few of them. They consume food, live happily, practically immortal but do not separate. Then a group of enzymes appeared during mutations. The kit allows the bacteria to separate. Synthesis of the new group is unfavorable. It requires extra energy and food. But the division advantage allows the new mutants to immediately outgrow non-proliferating cells. The selection is really sharp.

Bacteria growing in a tube represent a mini evolution. Any bacteria that fit the environment are also selected based on simplicity. In a toxic environment (antibiotics) mutant bacteria that have a new neutralization mechanism would survive. But simpler bacteria will eventually outgrow complex ones. Unless the complexity provides a major advantage that outweighs the benefits of simplicity. Another example: the HIV virus is very complex compared to some other viruses. But because of its complexity it evades the immune response. That’s why it’s so successful. For men there has been some discussion that hernias are a direct problem of staying erect. So the elevated posture leads to disadvantage. On the other hand, standing erect frees the hand, which allows the production of tools and this gives a great advantage in survival in the natural world by creating the possibility to adapt to almost any condition.

All higher animals have only 4 limbs. Of course it is sufficient in a harsh environment. Growing a few extra limbs will consume a lot more resources and take a lot more time, not giving much advantage to an animal’s speed or defense. Thus, the risk of losing a limb is not as great as the risk of not multiplying fast enough.

The bilateral design of most animals was selected at the primitive species level. Although lower multicellular organisms can have 3-sided symmetry or 5-sided symmetry like starfish. Often something chosen in selection becomes the building blocks for higher species. Maybe the 5-sided symmetric tiger would be possible, but it requires intermediate chaining.

The same goes for the Death mechanic. Once selected, it is replicated in all higher organisms. It should provide an advantage in the ultimate survival of the species. Otherwise the meaning is lost and the species would become extinct.

So what’s the advantage for Death?

Immortal and childless animals are growing and growing. Mutations lead to species that produce offspring. Their disadvantage is that they are more complex. But the advantage of adding animals is to occupy wider areas. They displace the immortal and childless species. Now, if the growing animals are immortal, they do not give the offspring enough space or food. The next steps of mutation brought about the mechanism of programmed death at a certain age.

Let us consider the situation where of two species one is immortal and produces offspring, the other is mortal and also produces offspring. Mortality seems like a distinct disadvantage in a stable environment. Adult organisms are stronger and more protected compared to juveniles.

However, the next catastrophe will wipe out all species altogether. Only some mutants can adapt to the new environment. But “mutant” for a multicellular organism means that the mutation occurred when the organism had only one cell (fertilized oocyte stage for example). Otherwise it needs exactly the same mutations at the level of several cells – an infinitely impossible event.

Thus, any species that had the mechanism to allow the next generation to flourish (the mechanism of programmed death) will have an advantage. They produce more offspring than immortal species. The death of the parents saves space and food. Immortals can only die by accident. It is too long for children to wait for a job vacancy.

Then, having more offspring automatically means having more mutations (simply by the number of events). Having more mutations means more probability to adapt to the new environment.

Immortal multicellular organisms, even if they existed in the past, were quickly wiped out by accidents and bred from mortal multicellular organisms.

Again this is all just a hypothesis.

– continued in part 3

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