THE TANGLED TREE: A RADICAL HISTORY OF LIFE / David Quammen

HGT – Horizontal gene transfer is the entanglement. Living organisms have shared genes, diverged in dramatic ways and then merged genes again for over three billion years since life first appeared, speeding evolution and continually making Darwin’s tree of life too simplistic. Quammen tells a fascinating story about the dedicated scientists who first discovered genes, then used genetics to learn how various species are related and when they branched off from one another. Then they delved into the HOW. How living matter became a cell – bacteria and archaea, then became a more complex eukaryote – a cell with a nucleus eventually becoming, multi-celled organisms. Interestingly, we Homo sapiens have three times as many microbes living on and in us as we do cells, and our DNA is 8% viral genes.     Celeste 11/9/2018

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