I decided to list my top 10 favorite entries from 2010. By looking back, it helps to confirm my suspicion that the hypothesis of front-loading/nudging evolution is not only reasonable and plausible (as no one has ever shown otherwise), but it is also a fruitful and productive hypothesis. The ten entries are not ordered by any criteria, but instead roughly follow a chronological sequence.
So here they are……
1. Two key neurotransmitters that are used to control muscle contraction and organ function in metazoans exist in unicellular organisms playing similar control roles. I’ll be expanding on this story soon.
2. Several posts outline the growing relation between front-loading and convergence, making the case that a significant component to convergence is indebted to the intrinsic architecture of life and not merely similar selection pressures (conventional thinking):
d. My hypothesis goes mainstream : Convergent recruitment
3. Adding to 2c above is the earlier essay where I support the hypothesis that blood was front-loaded.
4. I outline and support my teleological hypothesis that predicts introns facilitated the evolution of metazoan life. I further clarify and successfully defend this hypothesis here.
6. Further support for front-loading. I briefly explore the needless complexity of the eukaryotic cell and then turn my focus on the needlessly complex eukaryotic RNA polymerase. Then I uncover evidence that such needless complexity played a role in facilitating the emergence of multicellular life.
7. I try to help people better visualize how design and evolution are interfaced.
b. Ever hear of synthetic life? Get ahead of the curve and begin contemplating synthetic evolution.
8. I begin outlining the telic hypothesis that cilia, functioning as sensory devices built around the eukaryotic cytoskeletal plan, have likewise facilitated that evolution of metazoan-type complexity. Later, I add some evidence to support this hypothesis.
9. Readers of this blog know I have been asking, “Where are the prokaryotic mice?” Introns are part of the answer (as explained in #4), but another part of the answer seems to be tied up in mitochondria. I plan to be adding more to this in the next few days.
10. The hypothesis of front-loading allows me to identify a serious candidate for a protein needed to form epithelial tissue (beta catenin) in green algae. From there, I make the case that this beta catenin homolog may be as ancient as eukaryotes themselves. What’s more, even if this hypothesis does not hold up, the evidence is strong for proposing that beta catenin’s were front-loaded to appear given their uncanny similarities to the alpha importins.