I've answered a few questions with this process but I wanted to see if I could bounce/refine this off the communities more biologically adept members.
Basically, it goes like so:
As a means of reproduction occurring between 2 completely different species, I theorized that one specie could accomplish this if its means of reproduction consisted of injecting a 'female' (of any species) with retro-viral like structures that could fertilize an egg, pass on traits and potentially alter the female's physiology to support the pregnancy.
[technically I suppose the recipient doesn't even need be female]
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to these retro-viral like gametes as RVS's
I know this is far fetched, simply because of the wild amount of things that need to go right: (FYI these aren't the post's questions)
- How would these RVS's differentiate between an egg cell for fertilization vs a functional cell for mutation especially across the diverse spectrum of reproductive mechanics?
- How would these RVS's know how to mutate cells to support the pregnancy
- the amount of random chance needed for the inserted DNA not to break something important
- the chances that the offspring could survive infancy
- the effectiveness or severity of the immunological response
I postulate that one way this could work is that:
After picking a DNA containing host cell for fertilization, the RVS's release a chemical indicator telling the other RVS's to begin mutating other cells and/or enter an inert state (to be directed over the pregnancies term). The RVS's know what the RVS creature needs to mature and the host creature knows what its infant needs to mature. I assume the dormant RVS's could check for chemical indicators that the offspring's needs are being met (this sort of makes them more biologically like bacteria that produce retroviruses though).
Because this is happening on the bacterial/viral level, I think the possibility exists that there is enough random genetic mutation happening such that if pregnancy fails and the host lives it could try a completely different approach.
I expect the chances of this working to be slim. I expect that this would more likely result in the host dying during and after pregnancy.
I would justify the evolutional advantage of this trait as a means for a creature to be able to rapidly adapt and evolve to environments. Why evolve its own intelligence and oxygen breathing lungs when it can steal yours. Or as a means of ecological subjugation.
The said creature would likely target dominant lifeforms, ones that have advantageously adapted to an environment as they would have the necessary population levels to provide enough chances for successful offspring.
Anyways, my actual question which is semi opinionative, are there aspects I'm not considering? Are there factors that affect the plausibility more severely than I give them credit?