2 posts tagged with evolution by Tryptophan-5ht.
Displaying 1 through 2 of 2.

metafilter: anti-microbial snot mixed in with a lot of fat and sugar

the origin of fun bags. The age old question of where breasts came from may have finally been answered!

[boobs] first evolved as an immunoprotective gland that produced bacteriocidal secretions to protect the skin and secondarily eggs and infants, and that lactation is a highly derived kind of inflammation response. [...] Milk is actually a kind of anti-microbial snot mixed in with a lot of fat and sugar.

All vertebrates have an innate immune system consisting of molecules which are hostile to microbes. It appears that the nutritional content of the milk is a product of mutation and repurposing of these immunological molecules! Xanthine oxidoreductase, which produces natural preservatives and disinfectants is also responsible for the essential role of encapsulating fat droplets which promotes suspension in water. Lactose (sugar) "requires a specific synthetic complex consisting of β-1,4 galactosyltransferase and α-lactalbumin for its production." As it turns out, α-lactalbumin is a modified (mutated) version of an awesome little molecule that literally skins bacteria alive - lysozyme!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on May 20, 2006 - 127 comments

evolution of cooperation

evolution of cooperation apparently the evolution of cooperative behavior has been something of a rough spot for evolution researchers. Some guys (Mikhail Burtsev & Peter Turchin) developed a computer simulation that helps to explain how the essential selfishness of survival is not mutually exclusive to altruism and cooperation as well as how these behaviors can arise naturally. (further reading from google: ###)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on May 8, 2006 - 25 comments

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