The eukaryotic chromosome has been around for quite some time now, probably well over 500 million years. It had to start from something, did it not? Like electricity and water, life always tries to find the shortest route to achieve its ends. In layman’s terms, we call this lazy, or the mother of invention. Doing anything else just requires too much time and energy, and if you’re busy taking the long uphill route, don’t expect the evolutionary winners at the finish line to congratulate you on all your hard work and effort. Nice guys always finish last in this race. The classical view of eukaryotic chromosomal evolution has been one of gene duplications coupled with single point mutations. It’s kind of like monkeys typing on a typewriter and eventually writing up all the works of Shakespeare. It can be done given enough time and enough monkeys. This kind of evolution is arithmetic in nature, basically one (or perhaps several) mutations followed by others, all being edited as time progresses to check for fitness. However, there is at least one alternative model and it is the one presented throughout this blog: chromosomal sharing, followed by reduction of redundant genes. This can be accomplished through endosymbiotic events in which disparate species join up their chromosomes and basically share the best of both worlds. It’s what sex is all about. This follows a geometric progression, especially as shared chromosomes because larger over time.
So the question is this: Which of these models takes the slow boat to evolutionary change and which one takes a jet plane? You know the answer as well as I do. You can learn more about this endosymbiotic model by browsing throughout this blog. You can also learn about my hypotheses regarding the reaction and inaction of the scientific community regarding the continuation of this line of research (see “Rantings of a Mad Scientist” page tab). In the meantime, there is a fungus among us, or should I say within us, not to mention bacterial viruses, and other lower form of eukaryotes. Check out this reference for starters:
Oh, I almost forgot! What happens to latecomers when they try to join the eukaryotic chromosomal club? Well, the senior members are well established via mitosis, latecomers either find a way to integrate into the club or must reproduce like mitochondria in order to not be left behind.