The INTRO TO ISSUE:
Dear Reader, Some of you know I have a great interest in biology. This post is about some recent ideas that I have had that I think may be new and important. Here goes.
Let's start with metabolism. That's all the chemical processes in all living things.
Metabolism is divided into two categories. They are CATABOLISM, and ANABOLISM. CATABOLISM breaks down molecules to supply energy, etc. It's a destructive metabolism. ANABOLISM uses energy to build complex molecules out of simpler ones - constructive metabolism. They are opposite, but work together in all living things.
This issues suggests these three major points:
1. Just about every aspect of life has evolved from catabolic or anabolic biochemistry (Catabolic breaks down molecules, and anabolic synthesizes bigger molecules from them). And everything means EVERYTHING. Catabolism and anabolism aren't the gorilla in the room. They are the gorilla in the gorilla!
2. The two pathways are relatively separate after four billion years of evolution for many reasons . Regulating each separately gives many evolutionary advantages; more flexibility, the ability to evolve quickly, more control etc. Also mixing the two may be dangerous to the cell, or cells. See part one.
3. Because they are separate but connected, I suggest there is a 'symbiotic arms race' between the two. Whenever a positive change happens on one side, it may spur the other to match it. Thus there is a sort of evolutionary motor directing evolution towards better catabolism, or anabolism.
Part One: SPECIFIC FIRST EXAMPLES
This section suggests that a major aspect of all life is the emphasis on either catabolic or anabolic biochemistry. It gives examples that support these two specific ideas:
1. Anabolic and Catabolic processes have not blended over 4 billion years, but stayed separate. For example, catabolic processes such as strong digestive acids would cause real harm if they were blended with anabolic processes.
2. Catabolic processes seem to have evolved to include not only breaking down molecules, but DIGESTION, the IMMUNE SYSTEM, and EXCRETING WASTE OUT. Many times these three pathways are related in some way.
1. The GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT. This tract in animals goes from the mouth to the anus and is for digestion. Note how separate it is from the rest of the body. Excluding the absorption aspect, it is almost completely separate from the rest of the body. Note all the bodies defenses here that protect from antigens. They not only include stomach acids, but the process of spitting out bad food, and excreting out wastes. NOTE: The alimentary tract is separate from anabolic processes (excluding the mostly isolated aspects of absorption). It involves digestion, protection, and waste out
2. LYSOSOMES. These organelles in animal cells not only digest food, but also excess or worn out organelles, food particles, engulfed viruses / bacteria, and - at the end of the cell's life - they can destroy the entire cell. There is real danger from these lysosomes, if their membranes break (Tay-Sachs disease, for example). NOTE: These organelles have to be separate from anabolic processes. They involve digestion, protection, and / or waste out.
3. VACUOLES. These are vesicles in the center of fungi, plants; and, some protists, animal, and bacterial, cells. Vacuoles are enclosed in a membrane and separate. Vacuoles isolate what's harmful, store waste, export waste, and in plants carry the poisonous compounds used for protection. NOTE: These organelles have to be separate from anabolic processes. They involve digestion, protection, and waste out.
4. PHAGOCYTOSIS . The cellular process in protists that engulfs particles in phagocytes and digests them. Note by surrounding the foreign particles it keeps them separate from the rest of the cell. Phagocytosis helps remove waste and ingest pathogens as part of the immune system. NOTE This cellular process is very separate from the rest of the cell. It involves digestion, protection, and waste out.
5. BACTERIA DIGESTION . Some bacteria and fungi digest by excreting enzymes that breakdown the food outside the cell. Also bacteria excrete toxins that help in protection. NOTE. The digestive system is outside of the cell and separate from it. It involves digestion, protection, and keeping waste out.
6. IMMUNE SYSTEM. The lymphatic system is separate from the circulatory system. It protects the body, and removes waste. White blood cells are separate from red blood cells. NOTE The lymphatic system is separate from the rest of the body. It involves protection and waste out.
SUM UP: This shows how anabolic and catabolic processes have evolved along separate pathways over four billion years; and that there is little blending of pathways between the two. And it shows that catabolic processes often overlap between breaking down molecules, digestion, the immune system, and excreting out waste.
How difficult is it to imagine that, in response to environmental pressures, an organism could evolve catabolic processes over anabolic processes, or vice versa as needed to better fit the environment. If natural selection chose more catabolic aspects (digestion, protection, waste out) as the best response to the environment, then that would be stressed in the species. If natural selection chose more anabolic aspects as the best response to the environment, that would be stressed in the species.
Clearly we should expect to find major divisions of catabolic and anabolic processes in life. We should be able to find many novel ways where species have amplified the best aspects of catabolic processes, in some species; while others amplified the best aspects of anabolic processes. It may be the major difference between species.
Part Two : MAJOR DIVISIONS
Start with the basic concept of catabolic and anabolic biochemistry. I suggest that these two chemical pathways evolved to many novel forms and developments. And that in all these major divisions, one half is more catabolic in its evolved forms, while the other half is more anabolic in its evolved forms. Here is my list so far. Remember this list is a work in progress. Expect changes, additions, and possible deletions as we learn more.
SOME OF THE POSSIBLE WAYS CATABOLIC / ANABOLIC HAVE EVOLVED:
Species level / Sex:
CATABOLIC : Male / ANABOLIC: Female
All LIfe Level / ATP
CATABOLIC: Generates ATP / ANABOLIC: Consumes ATP
CATABOLIC - Breaks Down Glucose to make ATP / ANABOLIC - Synthesizes Glucose
Hormones - two main types
CATABOLIC Hormones - hormones that manage catabolic reactions
ANABOLIC Hormones - hormones that manage anabolic reactions
All Life Level / Entropy
CATABOLIC: Increase of cellular entropy. / ANABOLIC: Decrease of cellular entropy.
All Life Level / Survival Strategies
CATABOLIC : Fight/Flight, (competition, conflict, survival of the fittest.)
ANABOLIC: Symbiosis, (Tend and Befriend, rest and digest)
CATABOLIC - heterotrophs (animals etc.) / ANABOLIC - autotrophs (plants etc.)
Relation to other Organisms
CATABOLIC - antibiosis / ANABOLIC - symbiosis
CATABOLIC - anything that protects and defends / ANABOLIC - anything that nurtures
Daily Metabolism Cycle
CATABOLIC : mostly in wake period of daily metabolism cycle.
ANABOLIC: mostly in sleep period of daily metabolism cycle.
Cell Division/ Replication
CATABOLIC: Cell division - cells divide into single separate organisms
ANABOLIC: Cell division - cells connect up into a multi cell organism.
Growth and Weight Problems
Growth / Overweight - ANABOLIC rate high and / or CATABOLIC rate low.
Loss / Underweight - ANABOLIC rate low and / or CATABOLIC rate high.
Two Part Human Mind
CATABOLIC Mind - mostly conscious mind, wake mind.
ANABOLIC Mind - mostly subconscious mind, sleep mind.
Autonomic Nervous system
CATABOLIC - Sympathetic Nervous System, (fight and flight)
ANABOLIC - Parasympathetic Nervous System, ( rest and digest)
CATABOLIC - Anger, Fear / ANABOLIC - Neediness, Hunger
Division of Processes in the Body
CATABOLIC - Attacks non-self / ANABOLIC - Supports self
Three Types of Psychological Behavior of Karen Horney from "Inner Conflicts".
CATABOLIC - Moves against others, Moves away from others or moves against self.
ANABOLIC - Moves towards others. (Fourth type Moves toward self).
Digestion and Assimilation
CATABOLIC - Digestion Gastrointestinal Tract
ANABOLIC - Absorption and Assimilation.
CATABOLIC - Lymphatic System , White Blood Cell
ANABOLIC - Circulatory System, Red Blood Cell
All Life Level - Food In, Waste out
CATABOLIC - Waste out - Blocked out or excreted out
ANABOLIC: - Food in - Taken in or held in.
CATABOLIC - Lysosomes, Vacuoles, Phagocytes. / ANABOLIC - Rest of the cell.
CATABOLIC - Birth / ANABOLIC - Prenatal Development
Origin Of LIfe, Clue
CATABOLIC/ ANABOLIC division is an adaptation to the Day / Night or LIght / Dark Cycle. If life is a two part catabolic / anabolic biochemical system, then clearly it's a cyclical system that has evolved as adaptation to something in the environment that is also a two part cycle. The only environmental two part cycle with enough force to fit and enough constancy to last over a long period of time, would be the Day/Sun/Heat then Night/No-Sun/Cool daily cycle. Thus life has to be a biochemical system that has evolved to fit, mimic, mirror, exist within, and adapt to, the daily sun cycle. That suggests that we must investigate the biochemistry of life in reference to both a day/sun/heat chemistry and a night/ no-sun/cooler chemistry. And that the origin of life was an event such that it was daily affected by the sun cycle. It is likely that anabolic build up was the first of the two to develop. Then catabolic breakdown evolved later. Note there is most likely also a wet/dry cycle in the origin of life, too.
Origin of Life Clue - Chemical processes in both Light and Dark phase
CATABOLIC - Night, No sunlight - UV, wet, hydrolysis of ATP, type chemistry.
ANABOLIC - Day, sunlight-UV, dry condensation synthesis, type processes. ______________________________________
Here is a list of some other possible evolved aspects of the catabolic anabolic division that may be worth considering. Key: C - Catabolic , A - Anabolic.
BREATHING - C. Breathing out, A. Breathing in. TWO HEMISPHERES OF THE CEREBRAL CORTEX - C. Right Hemisphere, A. Left Hemisphere. FOUR OPTIONS OF FOOD IN / WASTE OUT - C. 2, 4 A. 1,3. THINKING PROCESS - C. Break a problem down to its parts. A. Build up parts to a new idea.
Part Three: WHAT THIS MAY MEAN
IF all life evolved in one of two ways - either better catabolism or better anabolism, then that may begin to explain these things:
How life has evolved in only two specific separate pathways, anabolic and catabolic.
Why we have two sexes
Why males are the more aggressive sex. Why protective male behavior.
Why violent behavior is mostly a male behavior.
Why females are the more nurturing sex. Why nurturing female behavior.
Why males react to stress with fight or flight
Why females react to stress with tend and defend
That there is a daily metabolism cycle.
That the daily metabolism cycle has two parts - wake and sleep.
That wake is more concerned with catabolic processes
That sleep is more concerned with anabolic processes
That there may be two relatively separate minds in humans, not one. A catabolic mind, and an anabolic mind.
That the wake mind may be the catabolic mind (conscious mind?)
That the sleep mind may be the anabolic mind. (unconscious mind?)
That in sleep the NREM or deep sleep (80%) is for replenishing the body (anabolic).
That in sleep the REM or dream sleep (20%) is for preparing waste out (catabolic).
That growth has an anabolic rate that is high, and a catabolic rate that is low.
That loss (opposite of growth) has an anabolic rate that is low, and a catabolic rate that is high.
That overweight is a catabolic rate that is too low, and/or an anabolic rate too high.
That underweight is a catabolic rate that is too high, and/or an anabolic rate too low.
That the only true way to adjust weight (loosing or gaining) is to adjust the catabolic / anabolic rates.
Why women are more prone to weight problems then men.
Why loosing or gaining weight is so difficult to do.
That looking at catabolic rates versus anabolic rates can now be a diagnostic tool for Doctors.
That too high a catabolic rate, and too low an anabolic rate has certain specific health and psychological problems.
That these problems can be resolved by adjusting the catabolic / anabolic rates.
That too low a catabolic rate, and too high an anabolic rate has certain specific health and psychological problems.
That these problems can be resolved by adjusting the catabolic / anabolic rates.
That the Sympathetic Nervous system (fight and flight) evolved out of Catabolic processes.
That the Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and digest) evolved out of the Anabolic processes.
That there are two basic types of hormones: Catabolic, and Anabolic hormones.
That Anger and Fear are the main two catabolic emotions. (Fight or flight).
That Hunger and Neediness are the main anabolic emotions. (Tend or befriend).
That the three major inner conflicts outlined by Karen Horney in "Inner Conflicts" are reflections of anabolic or catabolic behavior with anabolic being "Move towards others" behavior, and catabolic being "Move against others' behavior, AND "Move away from others' behavior.
That her groundbreaking book missed the fourth. "Move towards self" (anabolic).
That food in waste out is a reflection of anabolism (food in) and catabolism (waste out)
That the Four Options are half anabolism (take in what nurtures, hold in what nurtures ) and half catabolism (block out what does not nurture, excrete out what does not nurture.)
That the origin of the two chemistries of catabolism and anabolism must be an adaptation to some dual cycle in the environment.
That the only such cycle in the environment is the light and dark, day and night cycle.
That the origin of catabolism and anabolism must be an adaptation to the light dark sun cycle.
That a possible scenario for the origin is a day night, light dark, cycle such that:
anabolic is Day, sunlight-UV, dry condensation synthesis type processes. And
catabolic is Night, No sunlight - UV, hydrolysis of ATP type chemistry.
That there may be some direction in natural selection.
That natural selection seems to always goes in one of two ways; either better catabolism or better anabolism.
That there may be a purpose to life - better anabolism and or better catabolism.
That anabolism and catabolism are kept relatively separate for the four billion years That life has existed, in order that each division can better regulate that side, and have more ability to evolve, and change, and adapt to the environment.
That anabolism and catabolism are under a type of 'symbiotic arms race' where the separate sides help spur each other to further development and improvement through natural selection.
Part Four: LETTER ON A NEW SCIENCE PAPER ON THE 'ZINC WORLD'.
I was very pleased to receive this letter, and to be a tiny part of this science paper:
Dear Tom, several years ago you have sent me a letter with suggestion to pursue further the topic of the light-driven origin of life. Although it took some time to find physically plausible solutions for several problems related to the light-driven abiogenesis, it has found to be possible to produce a realistic scenario and even to prove it. The results are described in the two papers that are freely accessible from the home page of Biology Direct (www.biology-direct.com).
Thank you once more for your encouragement (and check the Acknowledgements
section of the first paper!) With best regards Armen
Armen Y. Mulkidjanian, Ph.D. University of Osnabrueck, School of Physics and School of Biology/Chemistry Barbarastrasse 7 D-49076, Osnabrueck, Germany
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Cover Photo: "The CATABOLIC KIDS and their ANABOLIC ACCORDIONS"
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