>>" I do think there is some validity to the concept of the vertical tree - but I also think it is way more complicated then that."<<
One has to believe in the *theory* of evolution to believe the *tree*, and then the *web* to even begin to understand its application in evolutionary change.
In terms of its application in *adaptive* response to environment, one would likely believe, given that this horizontal gene transfer is one mechanism used by microflora to become anti-biotic resistant, that there is something definitely there to further research.
>>"Why is Keith Richards still alive at 66 with all of the abuse to his body while a kid can die of cancer at age 10?"<<
That is an extremely complex question to answer, however a part of that answer is the environment, lifestyle and habits of the parents, grandparents, etc. that would ultimately affect the health of the child from birth on...the parents, with good or bad environments, lifestyles and habits, change their *gene expression*, altering the *quality* of their *seed* (sperm and egg), for better or worse and then pass that *better or worse* onto their children.
We already have direct knowledge that *drugs* can cause physical birth defects and predispose these babies to all manner of illness... food and drink choices can too. How does it do this? The drugs and\or lousy environment (including lifestyle and habits), alter gene expression and seed, sperm and egg quality. Thus... *gene* errors, whether missing or damaged are passed on to the children... and the child bears the burden of the parents *sins*... and or grandparents, etc.
People used to know this... however, marketing is a powerful tool.
Keith Richard did have a child that died ten days after birth... I have no idea what the health of his remaining children is, however, with a little luck (receiving more traits from the mother), and a healthy mother, the other children could have *lucked* out.
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