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Reading Comprehension for IBPS Clerk Mains 2017: Set – 42
Directions:(1-10) Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions.
The driving force of evolution, according to the emerging new theory, is not to be found in the chance events of random mutations but in life’s inherent tendency to create novelty, in the spontaneous emergence of increasing complexity and order. Once this fundamental new insight has been understood, we can then ask: What are the avenues in which evolution’s creativity expresses itself?
The answer to this question comes not only from molecular biology but also, and even more importantly, from microbiology, from the study of the planetary web of the myriads of microorganisms that were the only forms of life during the first two billion years of evolution. During those two billion years, bacteria continually transformed the Earth’s surface and atmosphere and, in so doing, invented all of life’s essential biotechnologies, including fermentation, photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, respiration, and rotary devices for rapid motion.
During the past three decades, extensive research in microbiology has revealed three major avenues of evolution. The first, but least important, is the random mutation of genes, the center piece of neo-Darwinian theory. Gene mutation is caused by a chance error in the self-replication of DNA, when the two chains of the DNA’s double helix separate and each of them serves as a template for the construction of a new complementary chain.
It has been estimated that those chance errors occur at a rate of about one per several hundred million cells in each generation. This frequency does not seem to be sufficient to explain the evolution of the great diversity of life forms, given the well-known fact that most mutations are harmful, and only very few result in useful variations.
In the case of bacteria the situation is different, because bacterium divides so rapidly. Fast bacteria can divide about every twenty minutes, so that in principle several billion individual bacteria can be generated from a single cell in less than a day. Because of this enormous’ rate of reproduction, a single successful bacterial mutant can spread rapidly through its environment, and mutation is indeed an important evolutionary avenue for bacteria.
However, bacteria have developed a second avenue of evolutionary creativity that is vastly more effective than random mutation. They freely pass hereditary traits from one to another in a global exchange network of incredible power and efficiency. Here is how Lynn Margulies and Dorian Sagan describe it:
Over the past fifty years or so, scientists have observed that [bacteria] routinely and rapidly transfer different bits of genetic material to other individuals. Each bacterium at any given time has the use of accessory genes, visiting from sometimes very different strains, which perform functions that its own DNA may not cover. Some of the genetic bits are recombined with the cell’s native genes; others are passed on again. As a result of this ability, all the world’s bacteria essentially have access to a single gene pool and hence to the adaptive mechanisms of the entire bacterial kingdom.
This global trading of genes, technically known as DNA recombination, must rank as one of the most astonishing discoveries of modern biology. ‘If the genetic properties of the microcosm were applied to larger creatures, we would have a science-fiction world,’ write Margulies and Sagan, ‘in which green plants could share genes for photosynthesis with nearby mushrooms, or where people could- exude perfumes; or grow ivory by picking up genes from a rose or a walrus.’
The speed with which drug resistance spreads among bacterial communities is dramatic proof that the efficiency of their communications network is vastly superior to that of adaptation through mutations. Bacteria are able to adapt to environmental changes in a few years where larger organisms would need thousands of years of evolutionary adaptation. Thus microbiology teaches us the sobering lesson that technologies like genetic engineering and a global communications network, which we consider to be advanced achievements of our modern civilization, have been used by the planetary web of bacteria for billions of years to regulate life on Earth.
The constant trading of genes among bacteria results in an amazing variety of genetic structures besides their main strand of DNA. These include the formation of viruses, which are not full autopoietic systems but consist merely of a stretch of DNA or RNA in a protein coating. In fact, Canadian bacteriologist Sorin Sonea has argued that bacteria, strictly speaking, should not be classified into species, since all of their strains can potentially share hereditary traits and, typically, change up to fifteen percent of their genetic material on a daily basis. ‘A bacterium is not a unicellular organism,’ writes Sonea, ‘it is an incomplete cell belonging to different chimeras according to circumstances. In other words, all bacteria are part of a single microcosmic web of life’.
1.If all human beings started behaving like bacteria, which of the following would be the most desired outcome by all humanity?
A. Creativity and innovation will increase
B. Greater unity in diversity
C. Population increase
D. We shall become identical to each other and be free of con?ict
E. None of these.
2.Which three processes are responsible for evolution?
A. Random mutation; Rapid division of genes in bacteria; Genes exchange in bacteria
B. Random exchange of genes in bacteria; Speedy multiplication of bacteria; Creative mutation
C. DNA self replication; Autopoieses; Gene pool theory
D. Chance separation of double helix; Autopoiesis; Random selection
E. None of these
3.Regarding diseases caused by bacteria and virus and their eradication by medical science which conclusion is valid?
A. Madical science generally remains ahead of bacteria and virus.
B. Bacteria and virus are generally ahead of medical science.
C. Bacteria and virus are not only ahead, but manage to undo some things that medical science has achieved.
D. Bacteria and virus, and medical science are equal.
E. None of these.
4.Which statement is true regarding the work that bacteria do for the cause of humanity?
A. Bacteria invented many essential biotechnologies that sustain life.
B. Bacteria challenge human beings to innovate.
C. Bacteria can give important lessons to human beings about sharing and communicating.
D. All of the above work are important for the cause of humanity.
E. None of the above
5.Which philosophical paradigm does the model of creativity in evolution as described in the passage derives from?
A. Holistic world view
B. Descartes, Darwin, Newton
C. Ecological framework
D. Deep Ecology
E. None of these.
6.What are the reasons given in the passage against the theory of “random mutation”, with respect to explaining evolution?
A. Random mutation is a slow process.
B. Most of the times random mutation is harmful for the organism.
C. Random mutation is not possible in smaller organisms.
D. Only (A) and (B) are correct
E. All (A), (B) and (C).
7.Which principle described in the passage can become the basis of science fiction?
A. DNA recombination
B. DNA recombination among large organisms
C. DNA recombination among very small organisms
D. Autopoietic system
E. Evolution of micro-organisms
8.Choose the word which is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word printed in bold as used in the passage. Myriad
9. Choose the word which is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word printed in bold as used in the passage. Helix
10 .Choose the word which is most OPPOSITE in meaning of the word printed in bold as used in the passage. Typically
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