-1
$\begingroup$

During the transformation protocol we apply heat shock to bacteria to make them take up plasmids from their environment. It is really useful in the lab.

However, it presents an evolutionary paradox in a bigger context, if bacteria begin to take up free floating plasmids on distress, they will most likely acquire genes from the other bacteria, who perished in the same distress, so those genes most likely will not be useful against their adversity.

I am sure there are other factors here to resolve this paradox. What are they?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

The simplest one is they didn't. Not everything an organism does or has is an advantage many are side effects of other mechanisms or the case of heat shock you are purposely creating highly unlikely conditions to break existing mechanisms. In the case of heat shock, high heat coupled with very high calcium levels break down the normal mechanisms that prevent plasmids from entering the cell, after that normal diffusion takes over. It is like asking why we evolved to absorb material injected into us, we didn't injection is bypassing the normal defense mechanisms. It is similar to using DMSO to carry molecules across the skin, DMSO is so unbelievably unlikely in nature that there has never been a reason to evolve a defense for it.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.