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Topic review
Updated time: 20 May 2021
Submitted by: William Miller, Jr.
Definition: Cognition-Based Evolution (CBE) asserts a comprehensive alternative approach to phenotypic variation and the generation of biological novelty. In CBE, evolutionary variation is the product of natural cellular engineering that permits purposive genetic adjustments as cellular problem-solving. CBE upholds that the cornerstone of biology is the intelligent measuring cell. Since all biological information that is available to cells is ambiguous, multicellularity arises from the cellular requirement to maximize the validity of available environmental information. This is best accomplished through collective measurement purposed towards maintaining and optimizing individual cellular states of homeorhesis as dynamic flux that sustains cellular equipoise. The collective action of the multicellular measurement and assessment of information and its collaborative communication is natural cellular engineering. Its yield is linked cellular ecologies and mutualized niche constructions that comprise biofilms and holobionts. In this context, biological variation is the product of collective differential assessment of ambiguous environmental cues by networking intelligent cells. Such concerted action is enabled by non-random natural genomic editing in response to epigenetic impacts and environmental stresses. Random genetic activity can be either constrained or deployed as a ‘harnessing of stochasticity’. Therefore, genes are cellular tools. Selection filters cellular solutions to environmental stresses to assure continuous cellular-organismal-environmental complementarity. Since all multicellular eukaryotes are holobionts as vast assemblages of participants of each of the three cellular domains (Prokaryota, Archaea, Eukaryota) and the virome, multicellular variation is necessarily a product of co-engineering among them.
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Topic review
Updated time: 21 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Ettaib El Marabti
Definition: Pre-mRNA splicing is an essential step in gene expression and is catalyzed by two machineries in eukaryotes: the major (U2 type) and minor (U12 type) spliceosomes. While the majority of introns in humans are U2 type, less than 0.4% are U12 type, also known as minor introns (mi-INTs), and require a specialized spliceosome composed of U11, U12, U4atac, U5, and U6atac snRNPs. The high evolutionary conservation and apparent splicing inefficiency of U12 introns have set them apart from their major counterparts and led to speculations on the purpose for their existence.
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Topic review
Updated time: 26 Aug 2021
Submitted by: Jana Hlaváčová
Definition: Latent infection of the globally spread parasite Toxoplasma gondii in humans has been associated with changes in personality and behavior. Numerous studies have investigated the effect of toxoplasmosis on depression, but their results are inconsistent. Our study focused on the effect of latent toxoplasmosis on depression in men and women in association with their fertility. In 2016–2018, we recruited clients (677 men and 664 women) of the Center for Assisted Reproduction and asked them to complete a standardized Beck Depression Inventory-II. In women without fertility problems, we found higher depression scores in Toxoplasma-positive than in Toxoplasma-negative (p = 0.010, Cohen’s d = 0.48). Toxoplasma-positive infertile men, on the other hand, had lower depression scores than Toxoplasma-negative infertile men (p ≤ 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.48). Our results are consistent with the previously described effects of latent toxoplasmosis, which seem to go in opposite directions regarding the effect on personality and behavior of men and women. Our results could be explained by gender-contrasting reactions to chronic stress associated with lifelong infection. This suggests that due to gender differences in the impact of latent toxoplasmosis, future studies ought to perform separate analyses for women and men.
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