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Ruth Gyure

So interesting! Yes, I imagine there is plenty out there to discover about prokaryotes that no one has even thought to look for.. These thoughts made me recall something that always puzzled me. As Mark describes, bacteria certainly do break down polymers in order to take them in for metabolism. The standard line on this is, they break them down into 'small enough monomers to absorb.' But, we know that many bacteria have the ability to take in DNA for purposes of transformation.. and these pieces must be rather large, since entire genes do get recombined. So clearly, the mechanism for intake of polymers already exists and is quite elaborate. Why not take in other polymers as well? I would imagine that selective pressue for this sort of polymer uptake rather than use of secreted exoenzymes might be in a competitive environment where polymers are the only source of energy and excretion of exoenzymes might not be the best strategy...

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