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April 28, 2017

This Is Not the "The Chicken or the Egg?" Question


Let's begin with the definition of a "vital" organ: A group of specialized somatic cells performing a function that is essential to the viability of the organism; if such an organ is destroyed or suffers irreparable major damage the organism dies.

Now here is the question: Which came first, an organism with a vital organ or a gene pool capable of controlling developmental mitosis with the precise efficiency required to construct such an organ?


Obviously, the gene pool had to first acquire the ability to construct before it could actually construct. That leads to the next question: How could it have acquired that ability?

I think the only answer is that something other than organ-construction must have first demanded utmost control over developmental mitosis. Cancer selection is the only serious candidate.

If functioning oncogenes initiated the death of developing organisms following failure to replicate precisely (if somatic mutations occurred) selection pressure would have favored minimization of such errors or even their complete elimination.

The role of cancer selection in the origin of complex animals has been an important part of my theory from the beginning. This is the first sentence in my 1983 Letter (Journal of Theoretical Biology 101,657) with emphasis now added:
Cancer has certain characteristics that lead me to conclude that it functions as an "enforcer" of the genetic program and, as such,played a major role in the origin and evolution of the Bilateria.


Comments and question are welcomed here.

At this site you will find links to additional material including my original Letters to the Journal of Theoretical Biology and the 1992 Nature review of my book.

Copyright © 2017 by James Graham

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