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Update on Microbes Affecting the Brain

B0004798 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up

Recent posts had already shown that gut microbe signaling with the human brain can have positive and negative effects on anxiety, stress, depression, obesity and degenerative illness. This occurs by neurotransmitters secreted into the blood, gut neuron stimulation, microbe travel into the brain, and immune cells…


Are Humans Evolving Now

Human Genome

Human ancestors have been found to have intelligence for 3 million years (see post on How Long Have Humans Been Smart). Our particular species, homo sapiens, appeared 200,000 years ago in Africa. This species of modern humans gradually replaced all others starting at 150,000 years, so that by 50,000 only homo sapiens were…


Convergent Evolution of Intelligence

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Advanced intelligence has evolved in vastly different types of creatures. Intelligence occurred independently even though these creatures started as small multi cellular organisms and diverged in evolution 500 million years ago. They each used different building blocks, genetic clusters, molecular cascades and signaling….


Remarkable Fish Intelligence

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Recent research shows that fish are remarkably intelligent and have complex inner lives. This should not really be surprising since animals with very small brains that are much different than humans are now known to have advanced social and cognitive capacities—see posts on birds, lizards, bees, ants and termites. The…


Evolution of Intelligent Viruses and Jumping Genes

Molecular Colors

50% of the human genome consists of jumping genes or mobile genetic elements. The 8% of human DNA from retroviruses has been vital to human evolution, such as determining the human placenta, epigenetic changes in the brain and digestive enzymes. An epigenetic immune system in the nucleus battles the jumping genes for…


New Complexity in Human Evolution Story

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Every few months a scientist claims that human evolution occurred because of some new factor: language, fire, meat eating, walking, etc. It is always related to hunter-gatherer’s in the African grassland (a savanna is a dry grassland that has some trees). Many have created theories of the current human mind based on the…


Q and A with William Miller about his new Book on the Microcosm and Evolution

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Many of the previous posts in Searching for the Mind have documented the cognitive abilities of cells, microbes, even viruses and perhaps jumping genes and prions. It is reasonable to consider that this active cognitive ability in cells influences evolution. Other posts have noted that in all animals, including humans,…


Q and A with Tam Hunt about His New Book on Panpsychism

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A previous post, Where is Mind in Nature, mentioned panpsychism as the philosophical view that, perhaps, is most consistent with the deluge of current scientific data about mind in nature. Searching for the Mind has described cognitive processes in cells, microbes, viruses and even jumping genes and molecules….


Individual Bacteria Join Together for Multi Cellularity

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How complex is the communication among cells when individual bacteria join together for multi cellularity? Complex bacterial communication has been noted in previous posts. Each individual microbe joins together with comrades for many different activities including complex communication and decision-making. Bacteria in the…


Virus and Virus Like Particles in Evolution

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Only a very small percentage of the world’s microbes have been discovered, and even less of the much more plentiful and diverse viruses. So, it is not surprising that many dramatic new viruses have recently been found that alter our understanding of evolution. The giant Pandora viruses and many new unique ocean phages…


Virus Intelligence Update

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With the discovery of increasing numbers of different virus-like entities, all of which transfer DNA and RNA information between cells, the importance of virus intelligence keeps increasing. Not only do viruses continue to show new complex behaviors in adapting to any cell, organism or situation, they are, also, critical…


Jon Lieff YouTube Channel

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The new Jon Lieff YouTube channel was started with a series of questions and answers from a Skype interview by Evita Ochel on EBTV. To view the channel and watch any one of the videos please click here. The eleven videos are on the following topics: How does meditation change the brain What is the relationship…


Human Ancestors

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Are human beings different than they were thousands of years ago? How about hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago? Were human ancestors more ‘primitive” with less cognitive ability? Have humans evolved and become more intelligent with the incredible advance of high technology and science? Or were ancient ancestors…


Brain Evolution

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The remarkable and fairly rapid evolution of the human brain has been very difficult to explain. Previous posts have demonstrated that small and large non-coding RNAs in the brain as well as alternative RNA splicing have evolved much more rapidly in the humans, especially in the brain. Is it therefore possible that brain…


Music Emotion and Evolution

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For many, music exists to express emotions. Music stimulates both psychological mood and physiological changes including heart rate and breathing. Music can help anxiety. It drives the body with loud, fast music making people lively and promoting dance. Slow, soft music can make people calm or sad. Are these inherent…


What Is Music

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What is music? Where does it come from? Is it an inevitable result of brain anatomy and the fundamentals of mathematics? Does it come from culture and mind? Does it come from the nature of consciousness? Has it evolved through time as a form of communication?   Three basic elements of language and music, pitch…


Remarkable Microbe Makes Stem Cells

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Microbes show advanced cognitive abilities – communication, group activity, and complex decision making. But, what can we say when a remarkable microbe makes stem cells?     How can the leprosy bacteria, mycobacterium leprae, turn a Schwann cell into a stem cell? Leprae’s captive vehicle, the stem cell, then…


Crabs Feel Pain

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Source: SARBAJIT SARBAJNA Pain can’t be measured. Experience can’t be measured. Many animals obviously experience pain. If crabs feel pain what does that say about other creatures’ experiences?   Do animals need a particular set of nerves or brain structures to feel pain? Many animals show surprising levels…


Intelligent RNAs in the Brain

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Alternative RNA splicing and non-coding RNA particles have evolved unusually rapidly. Intelligent RNAs in the brain have fostered rapid human evolution.   A war rages between jumping genes and the protectors of the genome. Epigenetic complexity, including RNA particles, was born fighting the jumping genes. Small RNA…


Intelligent RNA Small and Large

Protein molecule for Complex Neuron Machinery

The best supercomputers cannot calculate each of three superimposed processes  – DNA regulation, protein folding, and alternative RNA splicing. If these are not complex enough, intelligent RNA small and large show even more intricate functioning. The rapid evolution of non-coding RNA particles separates human beings…


The Origin of Life and Consciousness

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Despite vast research in all scientific areas, the origin of life and consciousness remains unknown. Bottom up molecular theories assume that chemical properties, reactions, and unique environments can explain the origin and evolution of life. Information in cells may need top down, causal explanations. Can life…


Alternative RNA Splicing in Evolution

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There are 20,000 “genes” but more than 100,000 different proteins. Alternative RNA editing is necessary to form the many different patterns. In the fly, one gene has 38,000 alternative patterns. (picture below) In humans, one gene can have 500 alternative patterns. (picture below) Alternative RNA splicing…


Giant Viruses, Microbe Intelligence and Evolution

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Jumping genes and viruses are drivers of evolution.  Bacteria show many cognitive processes.  Bacteria shed unnecessary functions forming symbioses to save energy, or to give energy.   Giant viruses show that viruses could have evolved from bacteria by shedding functions, but still having microbe intelligence….


Protein Folding in the Neuron

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The shape is what determines the functions of proteins, either as a structural element in the neuron, or as an enzyme in reactions. To perform as an enzyme, the protein must have very exact structures, allowing specific molecules to interact with it while encouraging chemical reactions. Somehow the regulatory…


Jumping Genes versus Epigenetics: The Real Drivers of Evolution

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Jumping genes are strands of DNA that move or copy themselves and jump to new locations. Fifty percent of the human genome consists of copies of jumping genes. Horizontal gene transfer is when strands of DNA (or RNA) in bacteria copy and transmit themselves to other bacteria. Viruses inject strands of DNA (or RNA)…


Mind and Molecular Genetics in the Neuron 3: Evolution

Molecular Colors

How does the mind work in an instant through billions of neurons, trillions of synapses, and millions of interacting switches deep inside cells? The regulation of molecular genetic processes has been shown to be vastly more complex than previously thought. What do these new findings imply about the mechanism of brain…


Mind and Molecular Genetics in the Neuron 2: New Genetic Landscape

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Two hundred and fifty thousand cells a second migrating into place in the fetal brain. Finally, a trillion neurons are in place, each attempting to respond. Neurons capturing the incoming flood of sensory data, and those responding survive the pruning. The rest of the 900 billion cells are gone, systematically broken up,…


Mind and Molecular Genetics in the Neuron: Part 1

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A thought occurs! Instantly, the signal goes out, DNA is triggered and coding of RNA begins. Pieces of RNA are brought together and edited. Some large RNAs travel to the ribosome manufacturing proteins for microtubules and actin, transporting sacs holding neurotransmitters, building structures to seamlessly merge sacs with…


Why are Sponges and Yeast Stupid? Unused Microbe Machinery for Synapses and Oscillations

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Despite having most of the genetic machinery to make neurons, synapses and brains, neither yeast nor sponges use these complex molecules for brains. Instead of using these genes all at once to make a synapse, they use each gene for other purposes one at a time.  But, it raises an important question as to why these…


DNA Proofreading, Correcting Mutations during Replication, Cellullar Self Directed Engineering

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To pass on the code of life to the next cell, DNA copies itself. This process is called replication.  Much is made of the mutations, or errors in DNA replication. Evolutionary theory relies in part on these mutations to explain the development of the dramatic diversity of nature; however, what is most dramatic about DNA…


Rat Empathy and Brain Evolution

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Current theories of the brain’s evolution attempt to correlate mental ability with the evolutionary age and sophistication of its structures. The older and more primitive the structure, the less emotional and cognitive abilities should be present. However, recent studies are shaking the brain-behavioral evolutionary…


New Sense Stimulates New Species, Attention stimulates Neurons

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It is not clear how the African electric fish developed a sensory organ to send out electric signals to study the environment, much like the sonar of bats.  But recently, studies of the evolution of these fish showed that, as their need to send and receive electrical information increased, the brain centers needed to use…


Social Interaction Affecting Evolution

Microbe Cluster

Social Evolution The increasing evidence for group behavior at every level of nature has begun to influence evolution theory.  Bacteria and other unicellular creatures have surprising ability to communicate, plan, and engineer, as shown in previous posts on social microbes.  If these abilities represent a form of…


A Cell Becomes a Neuron

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Once upon a time, possibly 600 million years ago, a cell became a neuron. Microbial Mysteries Today’s single-celled microbes have capacities that resemble some of the functions of brains, as previous posts have shown. Microbes communicate in groups to make decisions and join with other cells, as if they were part of a…


Mind with No Brain -The Microbe “Brain” – Sensory, Neuronal, Attributes of Microbes

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People work together in a committee to solve problems, speaking and listening to each other, analyzing and synthesizing data, then eventually come together to speak as one voice. The brain does the same thing. It receives a variety of sensory information, then synthesizes and analyzes the data by sending it into…