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Insects Develop Pesticide Resistance Through Symbiosis With Gut Flora

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the with-a-little-help-from-my-little-friends dept.

Science 144

First time accepted submitter blinkin247 writes "The indiscriminate spraying of pesticides has probably caused as many problems as it has solved, but here's one that was not expected: some bacteria have decided that insecticide is a very tasty meal. Unfortunately for us, one of the strains of bacteria that has evolved the ability to digest the toxin happens to be able to find a home in an insect's gut. When it does so, it provides the insect with resistance."

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Happy Weekend from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39801819)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you're a pal and a confident

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend

Re:Happy Weekend from the Golden Girls! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802033)

That's cosmonaut, you moron.

Actually the finding could be a good news ! (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802063)

The discovery that the bacteria inside insects' guts finds human-made (often very toxic) insecticide "tasty" can actually be a good news for all of us ---

We can tap the ability of those bacteria to "digest" away many of the toxic waste produced by industries

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (5, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802213)

The discovery that the bacteria inside insects' guts finds human-made (often very toxic) insecticide "tasty" can actually be a good news for all of us ---

We can tap the ability of those bacteria to "digest" away many of the toxic waste produced by industries

And allow the said industries to produce other flavors of toxic waste, only cheaper?
Or would you like Monsanto to provide both the meal and the "enhanced digestion additive" for it?

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802355)

The discovery that the bacteria inside insects' guts finds human-made (often very toxic) insecticide "tasty" can actually be a good news for all of us ---

We can tap the ability of those bacteria to "digest" away many of the toxic waste produced by industries

And allow the said industries to produce other flavors of toxic waste, only cheaper?

Whether you like it or not, the industrial complex has been producing, - and is producing - millions and millions of tons of toxic waste every single year. toxic wastes that are very difficult - and very un-economical to un-toxic-fy

If there are bacteria which can "digest" those toxic waste and break-down the chemicals in such that the resultant by-products lose their toxicity - we should tap into the abilities of those bacteria to clean up the environment

And your point being ... ?

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803065)

The discovery that the bacteria inside insects' guts finds human-made (often very toxic) insecticide "tasty" can actually be a good news for all of us ---

We can tap the ability of those bacteria to "digest" away many of the toxic waste produced by industries

And allow the said industries to produce other flavors of toxic waste, only cheaper?

Whether you like it or not, the industrial complex has been producing, - and is producing - millions and millions of tons of toxic waste every single year. toxic wastes that are very difficult - and very un-economical to un-toxic-fy

If there are bacteria which can "digest" those toxic waste and break-down the chemicals in such that the resultant by-products lose their toxicity - we should tap into the abilities of those bacteria to clean up the environment

And your point being ... ?

My point: for the time being, those bacteria requires a gut to function.

I won't volunteer my gut for it and various [wikipedia.org] experiments [abc.net.au] of the [wikipedia.org] past [aussiebee.com.au] make me wary of attempts involving evolution and ecology (take TFA for an example of the law of unintended consequences in ecology).

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803381)

My point: for the time being, those bacteria requires a gut to function.

Not all of them do. :P Even the summary says this was just one strain of a number of pesticide-eating bacteria.

I fully agree with being leery of and avoiding introducing species, but these bacteria evolved in places where there was heavy pesticide use. So they aren't exactly introduced species when used to clean up pesticides, they aren't that far removed from their natural environment. When the pesticide is gone, the pressure would be to return towards their previous food sources. Of course I couldn't say that would be the case, but it's not as big an shock to the ecosystem as many introductions.

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803529)

I fully agree with being leery of and avoiding introducing species, but these bacteria evolved in places where there was heavy pesticide use. So they aren't exactly introduced species when used to clean up pesticides, they aren't that far removed from their natural environment.

Well, yeah... except that my objection to the post I was answering to was not against letting the bacteria do what they were pressured to do, but against tapping into it.

We can tap the ability of those bacteria to "digest" away many of the toxic waste produced by industries

And my objection stems from the two reasons I listed:
1. in biology/ecology, the things have a tendency to go wrong in more ways and much faster anyone can imagine
2. my distrust into the capabilities of the corporations to act responsible (and I'm not necessary hating the player, but the "game" requires them to maximize their profits and "to act responsible" comes only secondary to that)

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803571)

Well, yeah... except that my objection to the post I was answering to was not against letting the bacteria do what they were pressured to do, but against tapping into it.

I can't imagine what connotation you are inferring for "tap" that would require I change my response. Taking bacteria cultures and dumping them on locations polluted by pesticides is "tapping" into their capabilities.

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803663)

Well, yeah... except that my objection to the post I was answering to was not against letting the bacteria do what they were pressured to do, but against tapping into it.

I can't imagine what connotation you are inferring for "tap" that would require I change my response. Taking bacteria cultures and dumping them on locations polluted by pesticides is "tapping" into their capabilities.

Like... potentially importing some bacteria strains into Australia because they aren't present there?.

You know, Australia's soil is quite particular - low concentration of phosphorus [adelaide.edu.au] - so the native flora there adapted to the lack of it.
Hang on, aren't the pesticides mentioned by TFA in this [wikipedia.org] class?

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803935)

I think you may need a visit to your local psychiatrist

No one is talking about introducing alien species of bacteria culture into pristine environment

We are talking about cleaning up dangerous and toxic chemicals - ie, brown fields which have been polluted by those toxics - no matter it is in Australia or in Timbuktu, polluted brown fields are polluted brown fields, and the pollution won't go away simply because of your unfounded phobia

If the bacteria can gobble up those toxic substances and reduce them to basic elements that are non-toxic, why the hell not use what the nature is providing us - hey, those bacteria are NOT man-made, you know? - to help clean up the mess we have done to the only planet that we live on?

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803999)

1. in biology/ecology, the things have a tendency to go wrong in more ways and much faster anyone can imagine

Myth, often seen in movies.
Nature is a self stabilizing an very adaptive system. Since it tries things in a way that appear to be random it is very hard to predict the outcome but this doesn't mean that the outcome is undesirable.

His point (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803385)

His point is obviously that Monsanto expects us to hand over our lunch money for coaxing the bacteria into doing so.

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803085)

Toxicity is a little more nuanced than you seem to think it is. There is -immediate exposure- toxicity, that happens on direct exposure to those "bad" chemicals, and then there is the question of -lingering environmental residues-. If bacteria start to digest the stuff left behind, then is it really toxic when it's become food for something?

-- Carbon_tet

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804077)

If bacteria start to digest the stuff left behind, then is it really toxic when it's become food for something?

There are substances that are toxic for one species but not for another

There are species that live near underwater volcanoes, for example, and they actually consume the sulphur based chemical soup as food that many other species find toxic

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802381)

The discovery that the bacteria inside insects' guts finds human-made (often very toxic) insecticide "tasty" can actually be a good news for all of us ---

We can tap the ability of those bacteria to "digest" away many of the toxic waste produced by industries

Depends on what the 'waste' the bacteria is spitting out, I'd think. It'd suck if the bacteria took in pesticide and spit out, say, cyanide or nerve gas...

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802609)

so what happens when the bacteria start living in our systems. do we become immune to the toxins too?

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802681)

I could finally eat StarLink Taco Bell brand taco shells without getting the squirts?

Re:Actually the finding could be a good news ! (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802721)

this needs more mod.

bioremediation is a very exciting field.

Re:Actually you're a position whore (space) ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802729)

Hee hee you replied to a trollish first-poster to get a higher position of your comment. LULZ!!! Ur so clever. Plz mod him up, dawg!

And by "up" I mean down. Unless you want more of this bullshit which is what you get by rewarding it.

You are correct filtration unit 5327. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39804037)

It is good to see that there are helpful and thoughtful people in the world.

Curses! (5, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39801845)

Darwin strikes again!

Re:Curses! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39801861)

This isn't evolution, it's just a small modification of the genetic structure of the insect caused by a bacteria.

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39801897)

No, it's stupid humans meddling with things they shouldn't be.

Re:Curses! (4, Insightful)

MichaelKristopeit498 (2549128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39801923)

you're an idiot.

any evolution could be dismissed as such a small modification caused by an external force.

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39801941)

LOL, you retard.

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802023)

Then what IS evolution?

Re:Curses! (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802653)

Really? Adding a symbiont doesn't require insects to have modify their DNA.

Re:Curses! (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802659)

Sorry: "... doesn't require insects to have modified DNA"

Re:Curses! (3, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802771)

The symbiotic organism evolved against the pressure, and since it is symbiotic with the insects, fitness is acquired. Classic darwin in the true complexity of life.

Re:Curses! (2)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803109)

Genetic change by a non-sentient living organism is still evolution, nimrod. Did the genetic change give us any useful advantages?

Thank you, ancestral survivors of the Black Plague, for bestowing genetic immunity against 95% of known HIV upon me, through knocking out my CCR5 receptor.

Re:Curses! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803215)

Thank you, ancestral survivors of the Black Plague, for bestowing genetic immunity against 95% of known HIV upon me, through knocking out my CCR5 receptor.

Hey! My ancestors survived the Black Plague too, and all I got was an immune system that kills most stuff at the cost of going apeshit at the drop of a hat and giving me allergies. Not that I'm complaining, but suddenly I feel ripped off.

Re:Curses! (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803303)

Except the person you're replying to didn't rtfa and thought there was a genetic change...which there wasn't. It's just symbiosis. The same way we have bacteria in our guts to help us digest things.

Re:Curses! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803585)

Their certainly was genetic change in the bacteria.

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803659)

He never said it was evolution. Natural selection is the driving force behind evolution. This is another aspect of natural selection - a survival advantage gained through symbiosis. 100% Darwin.

Re:Curses! (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39801907)

Why blame Darwin for something Monsato or Bayer dids? Poor chump, all he did was to set up a logical framework to predict what would happen if we spray chemicals indiscriminately.

Re:Curses! (1)

datsa (1951424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802039)

I find this story pretty hopeful, actually. "Life finds a way". Maybe we are also a more resilient species than we give ourselves credit for...

Re:Curses! (5, Insightful)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802085)

Yes. The creationists will have a hard time explaining this one. My guess is that they'll choose to ignore it, just like they do with all the other proofs of evolution in action. What I find interesting about all this is how quickly these bacteria actually evolve into totally new organisms. I mean, it makes sense with their short lives and fast reproductive cycles, but it's just amazing to watch.

Re:Curses! (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802159)

Yes. The creationists will have a hard time explaining this one.

My guess is they'll say that bacteria with this resistance already existed in the population, but spraying made it so only those bacteria survived.

And for all I know, in this case they might be right.

Re:Curses! (2)

binarstu (720435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802385)

Yes. The creationists will have a hard time explaining this one.

My guess is they'll say that bacteria with this resistance already existed in the population, but spraying made it so only those bacteria survived. And for all I know, in this case they might be right.

They would almost certainly be right. What you have just described is natural selection, in a nutshell. Natural selection can only work on existing variation in a population. If no resistant bacteria were present in a population, then the entire population would by wiped out by the pesticide.

Re:Curses! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802427)

Natural selection IS evolution in action. That was Darwin's whole point, that species will adapt to an environment, and those that adapt the best will overwhelm those that can't.

Re:Curses! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802507)

It's only half of it. The other half is that you need to have new variations, or in modern terminology, genetic mutations.

There are few creationists who deny natural selection, at least if you are patient enough to explain it to them. And that's the doorway to getting them to accept the whole thing.

Re:Curses! (0, Flamebait)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802699)

Few creationists deny natural selection. (After all, Mendel was a creationist).

Few creationists deny genetic mutations occur.

Effectively, what we do deny is that these mechanisms can violate the second law of themodynamics (Best explained here: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/sewell/AML_3497.pdf [utep.edu] )

Re:Curses! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802791)

They don't violate thermodynamics, they have an external energy source, the sun. When the sun is extinguished, so will life, and entropy will win.

Re:Curses! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802923)

That's not what the second law of thermodynamics means. That paper equivocates the meaning of order and disorder several times, dipping into the formal definitions to make the math work. Order and disorder are metaphors for thermodynamic entropy, but dS is not the change in chaos, it's the change in entropy. He defines order as the opposite of entropy, which is misleading to begin with and downright false when he starts using the word order to mean things other than the opposite of entropy (or X-entropy) in his paper.

It doesn't make any sense to ask whether the increase in solar engery makes spaceships not extremely improbable. No matter what happened, it was extremely improbable because there's a huge timescale and the chances of everything happening the same way twice in a huge timescale are nil (if they did happen the same way twice, that would pretty much imply that there was little to no entropy from start to finish).

He has this line:

"If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is
open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable."

He's removed all precision from this. Undoing his re-definitions, this de-sugars to "if a decrease in entropy is a decrease in entropy when the system is closed, it is still a decrease in energy when the system is open, unless something is entering that has high entropy".

As a counterexample: spaceships do happen. Unless you claim that God made cars, or something, it follows that this localized order did in fact come from an external source, for surely the spaceship did not assemble itself. And I guarantee that humans are inputting far, far, far, far less energy into their spaceship creations that the sun is inputting into the Earth. Life does happen. Following this rationale, unless you insist on a continually-active creator god which is continually inputting order to supplement the sun which is apparently insufficient, there's no way there can be population growth, since that's an "increase in order". Plants grow. They're creating "order" very specifically from the input of the sun.

Not to mention he completely skips his proof that the "order" coming from the sun is strictly less than the "order" appearing on Earth.

But aside from that. Genetic mutations plus natural selection = evolution. Or more precisely, inheritance with mutations, where the mutations are not always a net negative in every possible respect, plus some form of selection = evolution. Even if that did violate the second law you'd have to come up with a way to reconcile it, for it isn't enough to say "these things contradict", you have to figure out which is wrong and why, instead assuming thermodynamics always wins and that somehow like magic the other thing must be wrong even if you can't point out what's wrong about it (we know it doesn't actually win at the microscopic level, as indicated in that paper).

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803103)

C'mon mods, I can't believe this is modded +5 insightful!
There's no violation of thermodynamics in evolution! Duh: the sun is an external power source. The cited paper is crank science at its best.

Re:Curses! (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803401)

Few creationists deny natural selection. Few creationists deny genetic mutations occur.

Great! Then few creationists would deny evolutionary theory! Because natural selection + mutations explains the diversity of species very, very well!

Effectively, what we do deny is that these mechanisms can violate the second law of themodynamics

Creationists always try to use the second law,
to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
The earth's not a closed system' it's powered by the sun,
so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!
- MC Hawking, "Entropy"

Re:Curses! (1)

reasterling (1942300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803865)

The earth may not be a closed system, but the universe is. Energy alone is not enough to increase order. If energy could overcome entropy then we should be living on the sun not on earth. I am confused about what is actually being claimed by evolutionist. Wouldn't cause and effect dictate that all the order that we see in the universe was present in the beginning.

On a side note, I personally think that all of this gives a nice, if not a little superficial, definition of life. That is that life is the organized resistance to entropy.

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803959)

Evolution is not "order". It's differentiation, moron. The universe isn't fucking Pokemon where organisms are "more evolved" than others.

Re:Curses! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802763)

I've taken a few through the process of examining their reasoning. They tend to squirm when you ask awkward questions, and I'm becoming less patient over time. It tends to be the same set of arguments every time, it's *boring* and it always devolves to 'I don't really understand what I'm talking about, but I have enough peer support to gloss over this fact until someone helps me see the shakiness of my intellectual position'. The *really* annoying thing is how smugly confident they are. Everyone knows that scientists lack the solid, down-to-earth common sense of the average man.

Fuckwits.

Re:Curses! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802777)

The *really* annoying thing is how smugly confident they are. Everyone knows that scientists lack the solid, down-to-earth common sense of the average man. Fuckwits.

I'll bet there is nothing in your personality that would cause them to reject you as a teacher.

Re:Curses! (1)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803053)

I'm pretty sure it's the part about disagreeing with them that does it more than anything else.

Re:Curses! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803093)

No doubt that's it.

Re:Curses! (2)

labnet (457441) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802707)

Natural selection IS evolution in action

Rubbish.
Natural Selection is the selection of pre existing characteristics. (Creationists agree)
Evolution is the mutation/creation of NEW genetic information that produces new beneficial function that was not there before. (Creationists disagree)

Re:Curses! (2)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802941)

No, evolution is the union of both things, although "beneficial" isn't strictly necessary, and "NEW genetic information" is ill-defined.

Do you disagree that mutations happen: insertions, deletions, changes? All have been observed.

If so, we can walk down the road of those proofs. If not, what mechanism do you propose that prevents these things from producing "NEW genetic information". be sure to define "NEW genetic information".

Re:Curses! (1)

labnet (457441) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803145)

Yes, I believe insertions, deletions, changes occur, but I also believe that random changes produce increased disorder not order.

Changed DNA can result in
- reduced function (on a scale from death to barely percieved)
- no change in function.
- increased function

If I have a billion self replicating programs, and randomly change the object code in all of them every second, they all won't suddenly die, but I will see the entire population gradully LOSE information and thus FUNCTION. Beneficial mutations are possible, but will be far outweighed by the gradual increased disorder . (how often will a beneficial mutation occur vs non beneficial mutation occur)

Re:Curses! (4, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803559)

If I have a billion self replicating programs, and randomly change the object code in all of them every second, they all won't suddenly die, but I will see the entire population gradully LOSE information and thus FUNCTION.

You should actually try this. I have. So have many others. What we've learned by doing it is that if you just randomly modify your billion programs with an external program and use this same program to do the copying (so none of the population of programs you're "evolving" can ever fail to reproduce), and nothing else then yeah you'll just get a big mess of programs that mostly don't work.

However if you constrain those that are allowed to be copied in some way, for example by running them through some tests to see if they have the desired functionality and only copying the best-working programs then randomly modify them, you prevent regression and select for enhancement. Iterating on this process, you'll find that you can achieve order and you can increase function. Dramatically so, and faster than you would think, too.

There's a whole field of computer science on the subject: genetic algorithms. They're only like biological evolution in principle, but it's the principle of random changes resulting in increased order that you have an issue with. Well, genetic algorithms provide a mathematical description of how that is not only perfectly possible, but a common, expected outcome.

We call the criterion we use to decide what solutions will be allowed to propagate the "fitness function", and it is the main thing that guides what the solution looks like, so defining it well is the major issue when you're a human trying to solve a specific problem. Even if you do a good job, you can still get solutions that are wildly outside what you assumed the solution should look like -- which is one of the strengths of genetic algorithms.

In nature, the "fitness function" is the same as the problem to be solved: Survive to reproduce. And what we see is the incredible number of ways that problem can be solved.

Re:Curses! (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803563)

You are ignoring the effect of natural selection. It is true that mutation, by itself, tends to result in individual organisms less-adapted to survive and reproduce in their environment then their predecessors. However, while the organisms with harmful mutations die out, the ones with beneficial mutations out-compete their peers. As a result, the beneficial gene is passed on to an increasing share of the population with each generation until it becomes dominant.

There is more to evolution than random mutation.

Re:Curses! (1)

hajus (990255) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803619)

Yet there is a whole field of AI called genetic algorithms. It doesn't randomly change the object code, but the 'dna' of the algorithm used to solve a specific problem does change via mutations generation to generation. Most of the offspring generate mutations that are unhelpful and get discarded via natural selection, but the rare helpful mutations tend to stick around and combine together. It doesn't matter how often it occurs unless you are worried about how fast evolution needs to happen.

Re:Curses! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803657)

Yet there is a whole field of AI called genetic algorithms. It doesn't randomly change the object code

Most of the time because the problem you're trying to solve can be parameterised more simply, but it's certainly possible to "evolve" object code, even object code that is responsible for its own replication.

I do like how the GP presented this concept of billions of self-replicating computer programs as if it was a hypothetical, but one that would obviously result in disorder.

Re:Curses! (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802267)

My guess is they'll just say "meh", and shrug their shoulders.

Most creationists don't have a problem with "evolution" as an adaptive mechanism, just the particular application of evolution that posits that trillions of iterations of evolution moved life from primordial sludge to sentient life.

The idea that the species existed in a "perfect" unchanged state from the point of creation until the present time was rejected as religious dogma even before Darwin.

Re:Curses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802831)

I've seen a number push the idea that no mutation is beneficial. Essentially, this seems to be their only alternative to accepting micro-evolution and denying *macro-evolution*. You tend to get awkward silences when you point out that there would be observable functional degradation in short-lived organisms such as bacteria were this the case.

Re:Curses! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803497)

My guess is they'll just say "meh", and shrug their shoulders.

Most creationists don't have a problem with "evolution" as an adaptive mechanism, just the particular application of evolution that posits that trillions of iterations of evolution moved life from primordial sludge to sentient life.

The idea that the species existed in a "perfect" unchanged state from the point of creation until the present time was rejected as religious dogma even before Darwin.

I will agree. One of my coworkers (who's a great worker, just a bit too religious but at least keeps it to himself unless you ask) explained it to me one day. He believes in "micro evolution" where species adapt to their environment. He doesn't believe in "macro evolution" where humans descended from apes and from sea creatures, etc.

Re:Curses! (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802333)

By standard Evolutionary theory, bacteria should actually have much less chance per unit of having a beneficial mutation than for more 'advanced' organisms. It's just they have a lot of both sheer numbers and fast reproductive cycles to make the individually unlikely collectively more likely.

Details: any organism, from bacteria to blue whales, can be assumed to be pretty well adapted to its environment - wildly ill-adapted means dead. So small tweaks in genes are more likely to be beneficial than big changes. Big changes overshoot the beneficial range. (Imagine a giraffe that might be a bit better adapted if it was six inches taller, but it has only one gene controlling height, and so any mutation in that gene produces either a 3 foot tall or 45 foot tall giraffe in the next generation). Bacteria have so few genes that just about all mutations are drastically negative, like the one height gene giraffe. Instead of maybe 1 in 1000 being beneficial, it's 1 in 10,000,000 or worse odds, but have hundreds of offspring in a generation and a new generation every five hours, and ten million to one odds are something it can and will overcome.

Re:Curses! (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803313)

My guess is that they will (rightfully) say that this isn't evolution, it's symbiosis. People need to rtfa, and not trust a poorly written intro paragraph.

Re:Curses! (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804005)

I'm not sure how you could read the article and miss that the bacteria's ability to process toxin was gained through an evolutionary process.

no, god planned it this way (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802873)

its all in the bible, if you would only learn to read it properly.

(unless you are muslim, which in case, its all in the koran, if only you could learn to read it properly)

(unless you are zoroastrian... which in case... hey , zoroastrian, thats a hell of a scrabble word...)

Re:Curses! (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803297)

It's not evolution. It's symbiosis. Certain bacteria can eat the pesticides. The bugs ingest the bacteria which live in bugs gut. Bug eats pesticide. Bacteria eats pesticide, bug lives.

Evelution in action. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39801889)

So.. Symbiotic evolution. Little bacterial critters that an evolve quickly lend their larger, longer lived, more slowly evolving hosts benefit in exchange for a place to live.

Interesting that these hardy critters mostly affect the farming rich bible belt states, where it's in vogue to badmouth evolution. Teach that controversy!

Re:Evelution in action. (4, Informative)

Theovon (109752) | more than 2 years ago | (#39801957)

I didn't RTFM, but on the surface, although this looks like evolution and symbiosis, it doesn't look like symbiotic evolution. The insect didn't change. The bacteria did, and the bacteria is living in the insect. The bacteria didn't cause the insect to develop a resistance. The bacteria is PROVIDING the resistance. If you were to remove the bacteria from the insect, the insect would be vulnerable again.

Re:Evelution in action. (5, Informative)

datsa (1951424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802093)

It's not that simple. Being able to harbor the new bacteria is now a measure of fitness in these insects. Insects that reject the bacteria will die off (if they haven't already), and insects that do a better job accommodating the bacteria are more likely to survive to the next generation. We happen to be seeing the end product of that process.

Re:Evelution in action. (1)

icqraid (2451822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803705)

I don't believe in symbiosis. That's why I had all my mitochondria (and bacteria) removed.

If the insects find a way to incorporate some of the bacterial DNA into their own DNA then genetic evolution will have taken place. I think symbiotic evolution such as with mitochondria and chloroplasts is a lot rarer. Those are the only two examples that come to mind.

Spider mites (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802019)

This is a big problem here in BC because of grow ops. Some off these spider mites are resistant to shit that will kill/fuck us up easily.

Re:Spider mites (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802297)

Even trailer park boys knew what to do with spider mites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWOIsopqK6A [youtube.com]

Spraying any sort of insecticide on spider mites is stupid and short sighted.

Simple Solution (4, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802075)

There is a simple cause and solution to this. They aren't spraying enough pesticides and they need to spray more. Just ask the chemical companies and their congressional and parliamentary stooges. They'll back me up on this.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802351)

No, we just need to mix antibiotics with the pesticide and spray that everywhere. Problem solved.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

cyachallenge (2521604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802489)

You joke, but this will likely be the market's solution.

Now put bacteria in farmers (3, Informative)

ignavus (213578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802133)

Yay! So now we can put those bacteria in farmers, and they won't get sick or die when they spray their farms.

dude (1)

laserdog (2500192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802451)

tottaly do it man we can make this HAPPEN

Re:Now put bacteria in farmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802633)

actually - it IS really simple - do like a large part of mankind does - and EAT BUGS !

Mirror shields for flying creatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802167)

You know what would really impress me sometime in the future after developing an active denial system for bugs involving lasers bugs evolve mirrors to ward off attack and consume or tasty stalks of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Antibiotics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802243)

Anyone else worry that will be Monsanto's answer?

Great... (2)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802319)

Great... Just what we need...
Pesticides with Antibiotics mixed in there too. I for one welcome our new superbug overlords.

Re:Great... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803879)

Looks like "Phase IV" was true.

(For the mystified, Phase IV is an "Ant Invasion" movie where the Ants acquired immunity to pesticides by many ants sacrificing themselves to bring a sample to the queen who could eat it and produce offspring with immunity.)

Organic farming is not for hippies (2)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802349)

This is why organic farming is not just for hippies and phobes.

Personally, I think of it as a very Taoist way of solving these problems--instead of a frontal attack (insecticides) plant symbiotic plants nearby that ward off insects, and things like that.  Go with the flow...

Re:Organic farming is not for hippies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802387)

If "organic farming" (what a silly name) were the norm, I'm sure it would be cheaper. Not as much as they are now, but I wouldn't mind paying double, or hell, even triple of what I pay now. Vegetables are cheap.

Re:Organic farming is not for hippies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802397)

>Not as much as they are now

Sorry, I meant to say "not as cheap as common vegetables are"

Re:Organic farming is not for hippies (3, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802709)

So, will you be the first to sign your own death and the death of 4 billion other people? Organic farming is unsustainable for our population levels.

Re:Organic farming is not for hippies (3, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802813)

Smart people would make changes in farming and population control over the sae timeframe. Sadly, lots of ignorant people will die because they were born from ignorance and largely dont improve from the cycle.... and so 4+ BN will die, not that any sane human wouldnt be apalled by natures big push back.

Oil resources finite? Check phosphorous peak estimates for a real scary reality check.

Re:Organic farming is not for hippies (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802989)

not enough free nitrogen on earth to farm for its current population. "Organic" food is for privileged first worlders, and is not the answer to anything. It uses the most fertile land to produce the least robust crops for the smallest group of people. Awesome.

Re:Organic farming is not for hippies (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803227)

Where is your data?

Also, what difference does it make if what you are saying is true, or if we simply cause super-pests to breed and eventually cause an Irish Potato style famine, due to monoculture farming, for example?

Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802371)

Really does not give one single fuck about us.

Life will find a way (4, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802463)

No matter whether you're dealing with antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or natural predators, life will always evolve to survive.

We all know this. The scientists. The chemists. The engineers. The pharmacorps. The pesticide and herbicide companies.

Hell, Monsanto even gene-engineers such resistance into their tainted products.

But the public doesn't want to accept the truth: we're all on borrowed time. All we're doing is leveraging short-term odds for short-term gain, at the price of long term dissolution. So the marketing experts and technology pundits tell them what they want to hear: that we can win the fight in the long term.

We can't, and we won't. Eventually every single antibiotic, pesticide, and herbicide we have will be useless, and the new generations of such products will be so lethal that we won't be able to use them because they're also poisonous to humans.

And then the shit is really gonna hit the fan, big time.

Re:Life will find a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802691)

Extinction: First it was the mammoth. Nobody even knew until thousands? Of years later. Then it was the buffalo (almost) and nobody realized the importance. Next came the frogs. Nobody cared. They were just frogs. Then came the humans. By this time it was too late. Mankind exterminated everything. Including itself.

Re:Life will find a way (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802743)

We can't, and we won't. Eventually every single antibiotic, pesticide, and herbicide we have will be useless, and the new generations of such products will be so lethal that we won't be able to use them because they're also poisonous to humans.

I'm not sure this is true. It seems that each generation of pesticide is safer, and more targeted than the previous generation. The earlier pesticides, like DDT are much worse than later ones, like paldoxins. Your scenario COULD happen, I don't claim to predict the future, but there is more than one possibility.

And our knowledge of biology is growing and such an incredible pace, it wouldn't be surprising if we get better and better pesticides in the future, at an increasing pace. Once computers are more accurately able to model cells and molecular interactions, then we'll be able to find new ones even faster. Or maybe technology will falter, and your vision will come true. But there is room for more than one prediction of the future.

Re:Life will find a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39802779)

Short term gains, in many cases, allow for long term benefits to be realized. For every advance like a new antibiotic, there's something that has a long term impact - learn how to make a cell phone better, a surgical procedure becomes more practiced, or a new manufacturing process is invented. You can't operate on someone with cancer if they die at 5 from measles; you can't show the world the potential of a new technology if you die from pancreatic cancer; you can't create a new manufacturing process if the people in the plants who understand the current process don't have enough time to both think of new processes and teach the newer generation how and why to use them. Saying that everything done in the biological realm is only a short term benefit because life will evolve around it neglects the ripple of effects that happens when you extend lifespans even by a short amount and then proceed to use those lifespans to create longer lasting impacts.

Re:Life will find a way (4, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802867)

Microbiologists ma disagree about the antibiotic resistance cold war component of your point. They often assert that when resistance is evolved against one mode of action, it is devolved from a previous mode.... this is true in bacteria, whereby removing antibiotics from media can generate a dominant species that is absent of resistance in 30 generations (1 to 2 days). This is because without the pressure, the small functional advantage of lacking a useless resistance gene lets the nonresistant mutant outpace its resistant ancestor in 30 doublings.

I am a firm believer in working *with* nature than against it. The future looks dreary...

Re:Life will find a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803569)

Well shit, it's almost as though humans will just have to keep adapting along with everything else. Eventually we'll develop technology that makes modern medicine look like primitive herbal treatments from thousands of years ago. Humans are the most successful genetic organism that we've discovered to date. We've almost reached the point where we'll be able to start tempering with our own genetic make-up and direct our evolution if we choose. I don't think we have much to worry about.

It was expected (2)

icqraid (2451822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39802473)

This isn't surprising to me. Just like dosing animals with antibodies and using sterilization products everywhere which creates resistance to said chemicals. As Ian Malcolm said "Life finds a way."

Synchromysticism (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803035)

Insects Develop Pesticide Resistance Through Symbiosis With Gut Flora

"Gut Flora" was the name of my ska-core band when I was in college. We were originally "Irritable Bowel Syndrome" but the lead singer left the band and he owned the name, Asshole.

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