Information and Evolution

Juan Carlos Morales jcm19 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Tue Nov 15 08:39:14 EST 1994

"One bad thing about having your ears always on is that one runs the risk 
of listening to things like this..."
- Felipito (from the Argentinian comic series Mafalda)

On Mon, 14 Nov 1994, AROUTIOUN AGADJANIAN wrote:

> Our team has developed a scientific theory about new type of
> transmission of information between living creatures within biological
> species.
> The main idea of this theory is that killed creatures transmit by
> unknown way all information they gathered during their life to the
> survivors of the same species at the moment of death. That is, each
> individual participated in essentially important for evolution
> information connection between generations not only transmitting the
> genetic information received from parents to their offsprings via DNA
> but also transmitting all information about environment, gathered from
> the first moment of life to the last moment of death, to all survivors
> of its population. (If we suggest that information is not just a
> measure but a fundamental category like matter and energy, then it
> becomes understandable that with death of living creature all
> information about its life can not just disappear - it could change its
> form but must continue to exist.) Thus, gathered by each ever lived
> individual of a biological species information does not vanish but
> accumulates somehow as an "information fund" of the species and takes
> an important part in life of progeny determining equally with
> genetically inherited information the embryonic development,
> reproduction, instincts, behaviour, etc.
> According to our theory that part of the whole transmitted from killed
> to survivors information which is received at the moment of violent
> death has the most important significance to process of adaptation of
> biological species to the environment. We think that transmission of
> this information makes population protecting mechanisms work. The first
> level of protection is preservation of population numbers via changes
> in reproduction:  this information can directly influence the
> reproduction rate of survivors increasing it. The second level of
> protection is a level of adaptation via changes of characteristics:
> information about causes of death received from killed individuals
> influences the mutations that results in changes of genetic
> characteristics in next generations leading to adaptation to this
> killing factor.
> To prove the link between reproduction rate of living creatures and
> violent death within a population we have conducted a series of
> experiments on laboratory animals. The experiment pattern was extremely
> simple similar to that of well-known experiments aimed to study
> population self regulation at the level of numbers in which populations
> of laboratory animals are exploited as they might be by predators. In
> these experiments we observed the reproduction rate in several
> identical groups of animals from which the equal numbers of animals
> were removed. The difference in our experiments was that the animals
> from the test group were killed and then removed while the animals from
> the control were just removed (An attempt was done to model what occurs
> in nature). Results proved the theoretically predicted increase in
> reproduction rate in the test groups.
> >From the point of view of our theory it would be possible to give new
> explanation to some evolution theories and well known facts. According
> to Malthus theory (which still seems to be actual nowadays) human
> populations have the capacity to increase at a much greater rate than
> food resources and there are three major factors holding human
> population growth in check: war, pestilence and famine. Then why is the
> reproduction rate of human animal  far more higher than for example
> that of lobsters that human use as a food? Maybe the real cause is that
> people kill each other in huge numbers and lobsters not? Thus, maybe we
> should stop killing each other and start killing lobsters - not to take
> them out of their environment but kill them in there next to potential
> survivors  of their population, like we kill rats?
> According to theories of Lamarck and many of his successors characters
> changes wrought by the environment during the life of an individual
> become hereditary and thus can be transmitted to the next generation.
> This mechanism would explain a lot of direct adaptations to environment
> but it can not be theoretically substantiated from the point of
> genetics and  can not be experimentally confirmed. Then again, why does
> giraffe have got a long neck? Maybe because a lot of short-necked
> ancestors of modern giraffe stretching their necks to feed on leaves
> high in a tree died from starvation and transmitted to the survivors
> information that long neck could save them from extinction - and this
> information was the real cause of genetic mutation which changed the
> length of neck in descendants?
> In the same way it is possible to explain the results of well known
> experiments of John Cairns and Barry Hall. This experiments were
> conducted on bacteria. They demonstrated that when bacteria are
> deprived of certain essential nutrients such as amino acids tryptophan
> and cycteine, they are capable in this extremely hostile environment of
> giving rise to descendants capable of synthesising their own nutrients.
> Bacteria were mutating and these mutations were not random but directed
> by the needs of the organism in the direction of being able to
> synthesise the necessary nutrients. Suggesting that killed bacteria
> transmitted to survivors information about cause of death - absence of
> amino acids tryptophan and cycteine, it turns quite obvious why it is
> these mutations that provide capability to synthesise the necessary
> nutrients occurred in descendants.
> I attach the description of two series of experiments conducted by
> independent researchers on silkworm and laboratory rats.(The latter
> experiments  have not been published so I attach  the copy of
> certificate ). Those who will be thinking on ethic side
> we ask to read  the posting Ethics and Ecology in sci.bio.ecology
> newsgroup.
> Experiments on silkworm were conducted by professor Sarkisian C.M.,
> Institute of Zoology, Academy of Science of Armenia.  Genetically
> identical offsprings of nonfertilized female were divided equally in
> experimental and control groups, 40 individuals in each. All
> development stages up to pupal stage passed with no interference.
> Before pupating within 4 days one caterpillar was killed by needle
> daily in experimental group and one was removed from control alive.
> Emerging butterflies were prepared and the number of laid eggs was
> counted. The number of eggs in experimental group equalled 10-35% more
> than in control.
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> copy translated from Russian
> This is to certify that based on the pattern suggested by Ignat
> A.Agadjanian experiments were carried out from April to June 1989 by
> the Department of Epidemiology, Yerevan State Medical Institute to test
> the conception proposed by him claiming that dying creatures releasing 
> signals which increase the reproduction rate in survivors within a species. 
> Experiments were carried out on 835 identical (weight, age, etc.) 
> non-linear white rats (600 females and 235 males) equally divided into 
> experimental and control groups. Within 7 days one individual was 
> killed daily by 3% phosphide of zinc (dosage equals to that used by 
> sanitary epidemiological services for pest control) in experimental 
> group and one was removed from control alive.
> Experiments results with statistical accuracy equal to probability of
> casual results below 0.001 showed that although
> other conditions were maintained equal, compared with the control the
> number of pregnant females in experimental group was 2.9 time more, the
> number of offsprings - 3.45 time and the number of offsprings against
> one killed individual - 10 time.
> Conclusion: Investigated phenomenon can be successfully applied in the
> economy, in pest control and in husbandry in particular.
> K.M.Dechtsunian, DMs, Professor,
> Supervisor of Investigations,
> Head of Department of Epidemiology,
> Yerevan State Medical Institute
> signature
> A.Dz.Ambartsumian, CMs,
> Senior Experimenter,
> Senior Research Worker
> signature
> Stamp of department of Epidemiology,
> Yerevan State Medical Institute
> Date: 29 June 1989
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Unfortunately,  we had no enough funds and proper equipment to conduct
> further experiments and check out the influence of violent death on
> formation of new characteristics within population. We are sure that
> given possibility to continue these experiments on laboratory rats in
> many generations for a longer period (compared with the time passed
> from first using of DDT till first reports about revealing a resistance
> to it) there  will be obtained very important results on the level of
> understanding the evolution mechanisms: rats will have genetically
> hereditary resistance to  phosphide of zinc though their ancestors had
> never ever  have direct contact with this chemical.
> Analogically, continuing the experiments on silkworm for a rather long
> period of time it might be possible to receive a population of silkworm
> with caterpillars genetically protected from being killed by needle.
> Analogically, it might be possible for example to develop frost-
> resistant lemon-trees...
> --

More information about the Mol-evol mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net