Foxy did not produce
any direct innovation on its own, but it did have the capacity
to create advanced cell structures much more quickly than protein
evolution could have done.
With each new Foxy-based improvement, those
cells would have spread relatively rapidly into all available space
(perhaps in a matter of just months or years). In that way the Foxy
gene itself would have also spread.
With each new Foxy-based innovation, Foxy
and its script-based positioning of cell elements would have gradually
expanded into more and more parts of the cell, until it probably
became an integral part of most protein expression.
A New Style of Explosion
These explosions would have a different character
than previous life explosions, however, since they would be expanding
into a world that already contained existing life that was genetically
An efficient new predator that was, say,
the first filter feeder, would do extremely well at first, and build
up to large population levels. But a few of its potential prey might
already have a way to cope with this change in their environment-- such
as fast motion, toxins or gelatinous coatings. Those organisms in
turn would become more dominant, filter feeding would stop being
the lucrative lifestyle it had first been, and the new predator would
settle down as just another species in the mix.
The net result is that we would at last have
true Darwinian evolution. Prey species would gradually evolve even
better defenses against filter feeding, parasites would appear, and
then the next innovation would sweep by and the filter feeders in
their turn would suddenly be eaten by the next generation of predators.
And so it goes.
What Foxy does for evolution is subtle, but
important. Quite simply, it makes rapid evolution more practical,
by directing changes in a more 'digital' format. It links
the genotype (DNA sequences) more closely to the phenotype (cell
structures), and that makes the odds for successful mutations much
Of course, what Foxy did for cells would
also work for more complex organisms, and we'll take a look
at them next.