Field of Science

On the 7th day of creation...

...god took a few hits of LSD and created Protista.

This solves the great mystery of why the Bible neglects microorganisms... the ancient priests realised the dangers of letting imagination run wild and tried supress hallucinogens as much as they could. Lest you get another protist-ful of madness out there!

Some evidence supporting my hypothesis statement of profound enlightenment:

1. Kinetoplasts

Srsly, WTF?

You know how normal people pack their genomes into a few chromosomes in a nucleus, and then transcribe and translate at will?
Said normal people also have little anucleate bacterial friends within them, mitochondria, who stored away most of their genes in the host nucleus, and kept a few for themselves. They have circular DNA, which is then transcribed and translated like a normal bacterial genome, more or less.

Well, these things decided that was simply too boring for them.

Instead, let's string about 5000 varieties of circles together with a couple dozen large circles thrown in for extra fun. And by 'string together' we mean: make chainmail.

What an epic idea! DNA chainmail! Can you imagine how much hallucinogenic chemistry you'd have to experiment with to generate such ideas?

And then we're gonna pack this chainmail into a very tight disk, and shove it right below a flagellum, in a mitochondrion. And yeah, rotate it during replication...

Crithidia fasciculata
The arrow points to one of the few dozen large circles.

('normal' mitochondrial DNA:

The circular string in the sea of junk (suspension medium)

But those are no ordinary circles of DNA.

They are required in order for the mRNA transcript from the gene on the large circle to code for the right protein. If you sequence the large circle genome, you'll find lots of gibberish and very little gene-like content. Those 5000 tiny circles are involved in a process of editing this mRNA transcript to code for something marginally sensible. In fact, the resulting proteins correspond quite well to their conterparts in the saner organisms...

Expect more details on this sometime eventually later... (when I learn some more about it myself)

2. Algal vision
And this thing:

(Photo: Haruyoshi Takayama)

The spherical thing there is an ocelloid. Basically, camera eye entirely out of subcellular components: lens and retina. It can likely form an image on said retina. Great -- but Erythropsidinium is brainless! What does it do with the image? Why does it bother?

There's quite a few other examples of algal vision, although I think the ocelloid is the most elaborate seen so far.

3. Cortical inheritance (Paramecium)
(Beisson & Sonneborn (1965) Cytoplasmic inheritance of the organization of the cell cortex in Paramecium aurelia. PNAS 53:275-282)

Take a row of cilia in Paramecium, revert it so it points backwards... and watch them divide -- copying the backwards row of cilia into the next generations! In no way was the genome altered in this process -- likely during cell division the original cell is used a bit like a template, thereby prompting this weird phenomenon of epigenetic inheritance...somehow. To my knowledge, precisely how this works is yet to be understood, still... over 4 decades later.


The creator had some good LSD or crack or shrooms or whatever... if only he/she/it could share some with us... sigh.

Actually, it did. Evolution gave us coca, Psilocybe, Cannabis, Ayahuasca, opium, Tobaccum... a perhaps a vast unexplored realm of even more drugs out there awaiting discovery!

(One wonders if smoking a certain protist could yield similar effects... )

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