|RNA is not alive.|
Microbial communication is a primary discovery of Microbiology (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 35).
It is also a concern of the scientific discipline which I envision as "Abiology or Micro-Abiology" (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 27).
More specifically, today's post concerns evolutionary Abiology, a.k.a. "abiotic evolution" (ibid) via abiotic signalling.
Another valid way of describing evolutionary Abiology would be "the evolution of quanta into atoms, then atoms into molecules of various and sundry shapes and sizes" (ibid).
Previously in this series (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) the Big Bang cosmological model was shown to theorize that molecules are a foundation of very diverse and complicated evolutionary developments:
Molecule, the smallest identifiable unit into which a pure substance can be divided and still retain the composition and chemical properties of that substance ... from a structural point of view, a molecule may consist of a single atom, as in a molecule of a noble gas such as helium (He), or it may consist of an aggregation of atoms held together by valence forces.(Encyclopedia Britannica, "Molecules", emphasis added). RNA and DNA are complex molecules that are not alive, rather, they are structures composed of different atoms bound together to form a unique entity.
|DNA is not alive.|
In previous posts in this series we started with the premise that RNA preceded the more complex DNA:
Most biologists now agree that the very first replicating molecules consisted of RNA, not DNA.(Nature Education 3(9):37, "The Origins of Viruses"). Then let's also isolate and focus on the very next sentence in that paper:
We also know that some RNA molecules, ribozymes, exhibit enzymatic properties; they can catalyze chemical reactions.(ibid, emphasis added). RNA is of three types: Messenger (mRNA), Transfer (tRNA), and Ribosomal (rRNA).
Like a copy machine or a 3-D printer machine that is not alive, the rRNA molecule is instrumental in replication functions (Encyclopedia Britannica, "Ribosomal RNA").
In previous posts in this series I also reflected on the hypothesis that RNA viruses of an ancient RNA type (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 2) were the first self-replicating abiotic entities (cf. RNA World).
I think that abiotic signalling, messaging, or communication would have had to be in existence prior to the functional evolution of such ancient molecular machines into more complex molecular machines (such as current DNA, RNA, and ribosomes).
I brought up the notion of a primitive macro-level "robosome" as the cosmic copy machine at the macro level of solar systems (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6).
In addition to that, a primitive, prototype microcosm, a primitive rRNA robozyme, is a further necessary hypothetical entity, but one that would require almost instant signalling (ibid).
That entity would be able to work via a form of electromagnetic signalling, which is no longer considered science fiction:
It is well accepted that all objects, whether living or nonliving, are continuously generating electromagnetic fields (EMFs) due to the thermal agitation of their particles that possess charges. Interest in EMFs as alternative forms of cell-to-cell communication can be traced back to at least the second decade of the 20th century. Interactions between EMFs and biosystems have been intensively studied for over a century and a quantitative understanding of many interaction mechanisms exists, There is much evidence that biological processes can be induced or modulated by induction of light of characteristic frequencies.(HCV Electromagnetic Signalling, emphasis added; cf. this). Remember that electromagnetism, electromagnetic fields, and electromagnetic radiation are abiotic dynamics (not biotic, not alive).
Recently, distant interactions between mammalian cells through EMF coupling have been shown. Distant (non-chemical) interaction in biosystems is not limited to interactions at the cellular level. Biosystem interaction has been reported at the level of plants, insects and other biosystems.
In 1997 Cosic proposed that there is a resonant interaction between macromolecules that plays an essential role in their bioactivity. The key point of Cosic's finding is the assignment of specific spectral electromagnetic (EM) characteristics of proteins to their specific biological function. Proteins with common biological functionality are known to share one significant peak, called the Consensus Frequency, which is acknowledged to represent the region responsible for the biological functionality. Bio-molecules with the same biological characteristics recognize and bio-attach to themselves when their valence electrons oscillate and then reverberate in an electromagnetic field. Protein interactions can be considered as resonant energy transfer between the interacting molecules. In simple words each protein and biomolecule has its fingerprint electromagnetic characteristics that can be used for its identification. In living systems long-range electromagnetic fields exchange messages across a distance because of matching emissions and absorption spectra. Non-resonating, unwanted random signals are excluded simply because they do not resonate.
For example, electromagnetic radiation in the form of light is not alive, it is composed of quanta of light which we call "photons."
Electromagnetic communication between and among bacteria is also known to take place:
The chemical mode of communication [between and among microbes] is the best studied of all. Nevertheless, bacteria also use electromagnetic signals as part of sophisticated signalling [systems] that function over distances that are substantially larger than cellular dimensions (which are the order of one to a few micrometers). The following descriptions focus mainly on the investigations in the area of electromagnetically mediated communication of microorganisms.(Electromagnet Fields - Bacteria, PDF, emphasis added). Research needs to be conducted into the possible use of electromagnetic signalling (wireless) by the hypothetical primitive RNA virus entities (a possible origin is proton tunnelling ... see The Uncertain Gene).
"Dude, microbes use wireless?"
Research into the electromagnetically mediated communication of microbes started immediately after the discovery of mitogenetic radiation (MR) by Alexander Gurvitch in the 1920s. His observation stimulated early research, which led to over 500 publications on the ability of information exchange by means of electromagnetic fields between micro-organisms.
In the RNA World + Virus First concept, prototypical RNA viruses are believed to have preceded single celled biological organisms.
Eventually the primitive RNA virus would have to evolve signalling, messaging, and communication of more focused sorts (coordinated genetic assembly & replication ... see Ancient RNA and Virus World, PDF).
More complex signalling, messaging, and communication could lead to primitive DNA, and then more advanced viruses.
Carbon-based organisms that developed later could then evolve more advanced genetic dynamics.
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.