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Question Regarding Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker

  1. Aug 18, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently reading Richard Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker and there is one part that had me really fascinated, but wasn't really explored in detail that much.

    On page 249 he writes:

    I know that some organisms (like anglerfish that use bio-luminescent bacteria, for example) can use other organisms in their own biochemistry, but I wasn't aware that a "cross infection", as he puts it, could occur.

    Can anyone point me in the direction of some additional resources that explore this topic in detail? Preferably at the "pop science" level as my background is in math and physics, not biology!

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2013 #2


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    I'm not sure what Dawkins had in mind, but searching for "horizontal gene transfer plants" on Google turned up http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...l+gene+transfer+on+plant+colonization+of+land (paper is free using the PMC link at the top right of the page). The introduction of the paper could provide some leads.

    Arredondo-Peter and Escamilla point to a hypothesis by Appleby et al that Dawkins may not be right on this point, and that there may be hemoglobins in other other plants. Some more current work seems to be described in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19704508 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23600702.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  4. Aug 19, 2013 #3
    Excellent, thanks for the reply - knowing the name of what he's talking about should help narrow down the results!
  5. Aug 19, 2013 #4
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