Eine noch kleinere Welt

Stellen Sie sich vor, Sie schauen in ein mächtiges Mikroskop und entdecken dort unglaublich kleine Maschinen, die das Material in ihrer Umgebung erst Molekül für Molekül auseinander nehmen und sich dann die Moleküle wieder vornehmen, um daraus genaue Kopien ihrer selbst anzufertigen. Die Kopien werden dann natürlich das Gleiche tun. Nach 20 Generationen werden so aus jeder Maschine über eine Million geworden sein. Kann man sie aufhalten, oder werden sie die Welt übernehmen?

Das ist keine futuristische Science-Fiction Geschichte über den Amoklauf der Technologie. Es handelt sich um eben die Welt, in der wir leben; hier umgeben uns solche Maschinen einfach überall. Unzählige Millionen von ihnen bewohnen den Darm eines jeden Menschen. Wir nennen sie Bakterien, und sie haben die Welt schon Milliarden von Jahren, bevor wir Menschen aufgetreten sind, übernommen. Entweder zollen wir ihnen Respekt oder sie werden uns töten.

Evolutionsexperten sind sich über die Vorfahren der Bakterien nicht recht im Klaren, und wir schaffen es nicht, das Experiment der Natur zu wiederholen. Die Natur hatte schließlich den Luxus großer Zeiträume, von Milliarden von Jahren, während wir Sterblichen, bevor unsere Forschungsgelder zur Neige gehen, Fortschritte nachweisen müssen. Jedenfalls sind die einfachsten Bakterien aufregend kompliziert, sie enthalten DNS-Fäden mit vollständigen Anweisungen für den Stoffwechsel und ihre Reproduktion.

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