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Re: The Papers That Ate Cincinnati

On 5/6/07, evelyn sobielski <koreke77@yahoo.de> wrote:

> Descent is descent. One organism's genes are copied > into a new > organism.

My point precisely. What to do with the cases in which
there is a genetic contribution from two organisms
that are so unrelated that there is (since LUCA went
down the drain) *no single common ancestor*?

Ahh, now I see what you mean. I think the only real problem here is how to define "descent" and "organism" (which is clear enough for the subject matter of this list, but not always elsewhere). Once these concepts are defined unambiguously, then life can be modeled as a directed acyclic graph and algorithms for clade definitions can be applied unambiguously. (I'd say more but ... W4TP.)

This isn't really a problem at all for plant hybrids, although I agree
that it may be a problem for prokaryotes. But again: as long as
"descent" and "organism" can be defined unambiguously, the problem
goes away.

(And perhaps any group, however broad, where lateral transfer occurs
should be considered a population....)
Mike Keesey