Over in the New York Review of Books, and apropos of nothing, Freeman Dyson talks up our biotech future. It gets pretty utopian towards the end, but it’s a scintillating read all the same.
This bit is near the beginning:
[Carl Woese] is postulating a golden age of pre-Darwinian life, when horizontal gene transfer was universal and separate species did not yet exist. Life was then a community of cells of various kinds, sharing their genetic information so that clever chemical tricks and catalytic processes invented by one creature could be inherited by all of them. Evolution was a communal affair, the whole community advancing in metabolic and reproductive efficiency as the genes of the most efficient cells were shared. Evolution could be rapid, as new chemical devices could be evolved simultaneously by cells of different kinds working in parallel and then reassembled in a single cell by horizontal gene transfer.
Just a theory… but wow, what a theory!
Don’t forget: previous biotech madness.