E.O. Wilson: My wish: Build the Encyclopedia of Life-3

So the question is: what are they all doing? The fact is, we don’t know. We are living on a planet with a lot of activities, with reference to our living environment, done by faith and guess alone. Our lives depend upon these creatures. To take an example close to home: there are over 500 species of bacteria now known — friendly bacteria — living symbiotically in your mouth and throat probably necessary to your health for holding off pathogenic bacteria.

And that may be just the beginning! The viruses, those quasi-organisms among which are the prophages, the gene weavers that promote the continued evolution in the lives of the bacteria, are a virtually unknown frontier of modern biology, a world unto themselves. What constitutes a viral species is still unresolved, although they’re obviously of enormous importance to us. But this much we can say: the variety of genes on the planet in viruses exceeds, or is likely to exceed, that in all of the rest of life combined. Nowadays, in addressing microbial biodiversity, scientists are like explorers in a rowboat launched onto the Pacific Ocean.

But that is changing rapidly with the aid of new genomic technology. Already it is possible to sequence the entire genetic code of a bacterium in under four hours. Soon we will be in a position to go forth in the field with sequencers on our backs — to hunt bacteria in tiny crevices of the habitat’s surface in the way you go watching for birds with binoculars. What will we find as we map the living world, as, finally, we get this underway seriously? As we move past the relatively gigantic mammals, birds, frogs and plants to the more elusive insects and other small invertebrates and then beyond to the countless millions of organisms in the invisible living world enveloped and living within humanity? Already what were thought to be bacteria for generations have been found to compose, instead, two great domains of microorganisms: true bacteria and one-celled organisms the archaea, which are closer than other bacteria to the eukaryota, the group that we belong to.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!



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