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Autumn Cochrane

WOW!!! See, this is what constantly amazes me as I learn about cells in my biology courses. These cells are able to provide for themselves! I find it so ingenious that cyanophages somehow "learned" to carry a D1 gene with them. It is such a simple solution, and makes perfect sense! I almost feel as if each cell has some sort of "vital force" guiding it; it all seems so coincidental that in evolving, all the right genes, proteins, and structures have evolved. Have you ever seen a video of how a Paramecium moves? Have you seen one where it bumps into algae, tries to get into a little nook, and somehow knows it can't go through and thus "back pedals" with its cilia to go the other way? How does it know to do that? How does it figure out that it can't go through the nook? Why doesn't it keep trying to force itself through until it causes so much internal pressure from the constricting cytoplasm that it explodes? I know it can't be thinking - it has no brain! And yet, the Paramecium moves and interacts with its algae, just as any exploring animal with a brain would.

And yet, what I find saddening, is that any professor I ask has no clue, no guess of what the answer to my in-depth questions could be. I swear - I must be really good at thinking up Talmudic Questions.

So, my point in this awfully long digression is that articles, bits of information like this that I learn make me sit in awe of the "Small Things" all around us, those small things that make life tick. Eliminate one species of the small things, and I'm sure, some sort of ecological catastrophy will manifest itself at some point. Each species seems to have its own unique purpose, and it amazes me how, while never perfect, life semms to just run like a very in-tune machine (biologically and in the very, very big scheme of things!).

Note: Thanks, Merry, for the awesome summary! It was very readable, and sooo fascinating!

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