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Plant Growth and Evolution

You probably never wondered how plants know which direction to grow. In the soil the roots grow downward and above ground the plant grows upward. This vertical motion seems as natural as Aristotle’s physics. Doesn’t it just happen? But as one researcherexplained, …  Read more

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16 Responses to Plant Growth and Evolution

  1. Cornelius Hunter posted this:

    You probably never wondered how plants know which direction to grow. In the soil the roots grow downward and above ground the plant grows upward.

    Well yes, I have wondered about it. In fact I wondered about it 40 years ago, when I was studying botany.

    And what did I discover? That auxin mediated growth processes orienting root and stem growth in plants with respect to gravity.

    Interesting? Fascinating, actually, and this research appears to help fill in the picture about how the mechanism works.

    Does it involve magical, unexplained poofery? Not so much – the auxin family of hormones mediate a lot of plant growth patterns, and their modes of activity are well understood.

  2. Of related interest:

    Roots and Microbes: Bringing a Complex Underground Ecology Into the Lab – August 2012
    Excerpt: As many as 120 different types of bacteria might reside inside the root of a single plant, Dangl says, and the composition of that community is distinct from the microbial population in the local soil. “We want to know the molecular rules that guide the assembly of a community of microbes on the roots that helps a plant grow. Ecologists see this as a 120-variable problem.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132440.htm

    Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Design
    Excerpt: The mutual relationship between vascular plants (flowering plants) and arbuscular mycorrihizal fungi (AMF) is the most prevalent known plant symbiosis. Vascular plants provide sites all along their root systems where colonies of AMF can assemble and feed on the nutrients supplied by the plants. In return, the AMF supply phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon in molecular forms that the vascular plants can readily assimilate. The (overwhelming) challenge for evolutionary models is how to explain by natural means the simultaneous appearance of both vascular plants and AMF.
    http://www.reasons.org/Arbuscu.....ngiDesign2

    Novel Nitrogen Uptake Design – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The exceptionality of the snow roots and their nitrogen-capturing machinery, their extraordinarily complex designs, and their optimal efficiency qualifies them as evidence, not for evolution, but rather for supernatural design.
    http://www.reasons.org/NovelNitrogenUptakeDesign

    Some Trees ‘Farm’ Bacteria to Help Supply Nutrients – July 2010
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....172332.htm

    Of somewhat related interest to this topic of ‘roots’:

    Electric Bugs: New Microbe Forms Living, Deep-Sea Power Cables – Oct. 24, 2012
    Excerpt: The world’s deep seafloors are dark and airless places, but vast swaths may pulse gently with energy conducted through a type of newly discovered bacteria that forms living electrical cables.
    The bacteria were first detected in 2010 by researchers perplexed at chemical fluctuations in sediments from the bottom of Aarhus Bay in Denmark. Almost instantaneously linking changing oxygen levels in water with reactions in mud nearly an inch below, the fluctuations occurred too fast to be explained by chemistry.
    Only an electrical signal made sense — but no known bacteria could transmit electricity across such comparatively vast distances. Were bacteria the size of humans, the signals would be making a journey 12 miles long.,,,
    Seen through an electron microscope, the Desulfobulbaceae — the researchers haven’t yet given them a genus or species name — appear in blue. They link end-to-end, forming filaments nearly an inch in length.,,,
    In just one teaspoon of mud, the researchers found a full half-mile of Desulfobulbaceae cable, and it’s not just a Danish phenomenon. Nielsen said other researchers have sent him samples from seafloors around the world, including Tokyo Bay. It’s possible that, at the microbial level, the deep seafloor is humming with current.
    With so much electricity being transferred, are other organisms tapping the lines? Might the Desulfobulbaceae be a power source for entire as-yet-unappreciated deep-sea microbial ecologies, which in turn shape some of the planet’s fundamental biogeochemical processes? That’s “an interesting possibility,” said Nielsen,,
    ,,the Desulfobulbaceae are definitely breaking down iron sulfides and carbonates in deeper sediment, while generating iron oxide and magnesium calcite at the surface, Nielsen said. The latter are important compounds for life in the oceans above, and ultimately on land. If the new Desulfobulbaceae are as widespread and populous as they seem, they could be an important component of life’s deep-time cycles.
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscie.....ewall=true

    Moreover, the overall principle of long term balanced symbiosis, which is in fact what we have with the overall biogeochemical cycles of the earth, is a very anti-random chance fact which pervades the entire ecology of our planet and points powerfully to the intentional craftsmanship of a Designer:

    God’s Creation – Symbiotic (Cooperative) Relationships – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4023110

  3. also of note:

    Plants Grow Differently in Zero Gravity
    by Marc Lallanilla – 10 December 2012 – with video
    Excerpt: Humanity may be a long way from harvesting tomatoes in outer space, but researchers now have a better idea of how plants might grow in such zero gravity conditions.

    Researchers from the University of Florida in Gainesville grew seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana (also called thale cress) on the International Space Station (ISS) to see how the weightless conditions of outer space would affect root growth. Scientists cultivated the plants in specialized growth units and photographed them every six hours; their root patterns were compared with similar plants grown on the ground at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    The researchers expected that the roots would grow away from a light source (as they do in soil on the ground), and the ISS experiment confirmed that light acts as a primary determinant in root-growth patterns. But the scientists also measured the diagonal paths or “skewing” of the roots, as well as their “waving,” the undulating wiggles and curves that growing roots normally exhibit as a means of avoiding obstacles like rocks.

    Roots apparently don’t need gravity to orient their directional skewing. They’ll grow away from a light source regardless of gravitational forces. Waving, however, is significantly different in outer space, and the ISS roots curved and waved through their growth medium in a subtler pattern than they would have on Earth.

    Though plants on Earth do use gravity to help determine their direction of growth, “it is clear that gravity is neither essential for root orientation, nor is it the only factor influencing the patterns of root growth,” wrote lead authors Anna-Lisa Paul and Robert Ferl in the Dec. 2012 issue of the journal BMC Plant Biology.

    “It seems that other features of the environment are also required to ensure that a root grows away from the seed, thereby enhancing its chances of finding sufficient water and nutrients to ensure its survival.”
    http://www.livescience.com/253.....avity.html

  4. OT: The systematic persecution of anyone who does not toe the Darwinian party line in academia is gone over in the following video:

    Slaughter of the Dissidents – Dr. Jerry Bergman – video lecture
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_ygt_mqzO8

  5. Although I don’t disagree with the substance of the C.H.’s blog post, his use of terms “evolution” and “evolutionists” when suggesting they have problem explaining this or that feature of life is non sequitur.

    The proper terms should be Darwinism and Darwinists (hence random mutation+selection as the explanation of the phenomena he is pointing out), since there is nothing intrinsic in the concept of “evolution” that contradicts intelligent hand behind.

    For example, technologies, web sites, languages, math and sciences, economies, societies… evolve, yet there is intelligence that drives this evolution.

    Hence “evolution” doesn’t contradict or exclude arbitrary level of complexity and foresight needed to achieve it, as C.H. is constrantly trying to suggest via the unwarranted use of the term. It is painful to watch how this seemingly minor terminological misuse pervading his posts, needlessly weakens and invalidates otherwise excellent points and observations he is bringing up.

  6. An Darwinist, on facebook, claimed that this was not a problem because..

    “you can trace the DNA evidence through increasingly simple cell structures”

    To which I responded:

    Really???

    Evolutionist: Plants Are “Driving Me Nuts!” – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: Plants also don’t fit into the evolutionary tree very well. Their DNA comparisons are inconsistent with their visible features,,, “The old family tree was now in for a major pruning. Roses were found to be closely related to squash, strawberries to marijuana, this meat-eating pitcher plant to China’s famous rhododendrons. For centuries water lilies were thought to be nearly twins with the lotus—no longer.”
    MARK CHASE: “This, believe it or not, is the closest living relative of the lotus. This is the London plane tree or sycamore. As you can see, this is not a little water plant, this is a big tree.”
    ANDREW DARRAGH (Horticulturist, Kew Gardens): …”driving me nuts!”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....-nuts.html

    (Shhhhsh!, maybe they won’t notice) Theory Creep: The Quiet Shift in Evolutionary Thought – Douglas Axe June 25, 2012
    Excerpt: But if we fast-forward two more decades, it becomes clear that the consistent picture that everyone expected — all genes confirming the same pattern of species relationships — is not to be. What we have instead is something of a mess, as James Degnan and Noah Rosenberg made clear in a paper published in 2009(3):
    “Many of the first studies to examine the conflicting signal of different genes have found considerable discordance across gene trees: studies of hominids, pines, cichlids, finches, grasshoppers and fruit flies have all detected genealogical discordance so widespread that no single tree topology predominates.”
    And despite consistent attempts to portray this as something less than a crisis for evolutionary theory, the news found its way into the popular press. That same year, The Telegraph jumped on the story with an article titled, “Charles Darwin’s tree of life is ‘wrong and misleading,’ claim scientists”4.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....61301.html

    Moreover

    “A major problem for Neo-Darwinism is the complete lack of evidence for plant evolution in the fossil record. As a whole, the fossil evidence of prehistoric plants is actually very good, yet no convincing transitional forms have been discovered in the abundant plant fossil record”
    Jerry Bergman – The Evolution Of Plants – “A Major Problem For Darwinists” – Technical Journal – 2002 online edition

    Flowering Plant Big Bang:
    “Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species,“To think that the burst that gave rise to almost all of these plants occurred in less than 5 million years is pretty amazing – especially when you consider that flowering plants as a group have been around for at least 130 million years.” Pam Soltis, curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

    Carnivorous Plants – Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig, Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research,
    Excerpt: Moreover, it appears to be hard even to imagine clear-cut selective advantages for all the thousands of postulated intermediate steps in a gradual scenario, not to mention the formulation and examination of scientific (i.e. testable) hypotheses for the origin of the complex carnivorous plant structures examined above.
    http://www.math.utep.edu/Facul.....s/carn.pdf

    Earliest fossil forests were complex – David Tyler – March 2012
    Excerpt: The most significant element of this complexity is the “bifacial vascular cambium” that is found in so-called ‘modern’ trees today. The term refers to the way the central cambium divides to give off water conducting wood towards the inside and food conducting wood towards the outside (the inner layers of the bark). Although Aneurophylates are already known from other Devonian deposits, this is the time they have been shown to have secondary wood typical of both hardwood and softwood trees. Therefore two important features of ‘modern’ trees – bifacial cambium and secondary thickening – were present in the Devonian Period.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....re_complex

    World’s Oldest Fossilized Forest Unearthed in NY – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBp3obZkX4o

    Professor Stein states in the preceding video at the 4:47 minute mark;

    “We are dealing with plants that are ‘impossibly old’, 387 million years old!”

    I like these following examples of irreducible complexity in plants since they are readily easy to see:

    Wild Orchids of Israel: Seduction of the Long-horned Bee (Irreducible Complexity) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFftHXbjEQA

    Hammer Orchid and Wasps – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv4n85-SqxQ

    Verse and Inspirational videos:

    Psalm 46:10
    “Be still, and know that I am God;”,,,

    Timelapse video of Flowers and Leaves – video
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/li.....t#p00lxwrh

    Mount Bromo HD Timelapse – video – (Be still and know,,,Psalm 46:10)
    https://vimeo.com/44543156

  7. nightlight #4

    In the public opinion the term “evolution” has become a short alias for “Darwinian macroevolution of all species from a unique common ancestor by means of random genetic variations and natural selection”.

    If you in the street interview 100 persons and ask, “what evolution is?” almost all answer that is “Darwin’s evolution”, almost no person answers “evolution is change” (intelligently or unintelligently driven).

    It is so because people are indoctrinated by the school and brainwashed by the propaganda of the mass-media, both of them fully dominated by the Darwinian nomenklatura all over the world.

  8. You probably never wondered how plants know which direction to grow.

    Actually, I have wondered. Even as far back as grade school. For science class I did a report on “gravitropism” in plants back when I was a kid.

    Definitely not an ‘accidental’ process or even a ‘natural’ process in the sense that it just happens.

  9. nightlight @4:

    I hear what you’re saying, but as a practical matter I think most people understand how Mr. Hunter is using the word.

    “Evolution” has many meanings (something Mr. Hunter is well aware of). And in the press, biology textbooks, the media generally, it is always understood to mean a fully naturalistic and materialistic process that is not directed by any intelligent agent.

    Unless the particular discussion is focusing on the different meanings of “evolution” or is focusing on whether some form of evolution might be compatible with design (in other words, unless the context of the discussion specifically requires us to distinguish different meanings of “evolution”), it is generally understood in conversation what is meant. People who support the theory also use it broadly in that sense as well. So for most discussions, for practical purposes and to avoid having to give a lengthy footnote every time the word is used, it is probably adequate — if not linguistically perfect — to just say “evolution.”

  10. timothya claims in post #1:

    what did I discover? That auxin mediated growth processes orienting root and stem growth in plants with respect to gravity.

    Interesting? Fascinating, actually, and this research appears to help fill in the picture about how the mechanism works.

    Does it involve magical, unexplained poofery? Not so much – the auxin family of hormones mediate a lot of plant growth patterns, and their modes of activity are well understood.

    And if one looks up auxin he finds:

    Auxin molecules present in cells may trigger responses directly through stimulation or inhibition of the expression of sets of certain genes[6] or by means independent of gene expression. Auxin transcriptionally activates four different families of early genes (aka primary response genes), so-called because the components required for the activation are preexisting, leading to a rapid response.[7]The families are glutathione S-transferases, auxin homestasis proteins like GH3, SAUR genes of currently unknown function, and the Aux/IAA repressors.[8]

    One of the pathways leading to the changes of gene expression involves the reception of auxin by TIR1 protein. In 2005, the F-box protein TIR1, which is part of the ubiquitin ligase complex SCFTIR1, was demonstrated to be an auxin receptor.[9] Upon binding of auxin, TIR1 recruits specific transcriptional repressors (the Aux/IAA repressors) for ubiquitination by the SCF complex.

    This marking process leads to the degradation of the Aux/IAAs repressors by the proteasome. The degradation of the repressors leads, in turn, to potentiation of auxin response factor-mediated transcription of specific genes in response to auxins.[10])

    Another protein, auxin-binding protein 1 (ABP1), is a putative receptor for different signaling pathway, but its role is as yet unclear. Electrophysiological experiments with protoplasts and anti-ABP1 antibodies suggest ABP1 may have a function at the plasma membrane, and cells can possibly use ABP1 proteins to respond to auxin through means faster and independent of gene expression.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxin

    Okie Dokie timothya I’ll bite, without using any magical, unexplained Darwinian poofery, please explain how just one novel protein in all that integrated functional complexity that came to be:

    Here is a Completely Different Way of Doing Science – Cornelius Hunter PhD. – April 2012
    Excerpt: But how then could evolution proceed if mutations were just neutral? The idea was that neutral mutations would accrue until finally an earthquake, comet, volcano or some such would cause a major environmental shift which suddenly could make use of all those neutral mutations. Suddenly, those old mutations went from goat-to-hero, providing just the designs that were needed to cope with the new environmental challenge. It was another example of the incredible serendipity that evolutionists call upon.
    Too good to be true? Not for evolutionists. The neutral theory became quite popular in the literature. The idea that mutations were not brimming with cool innovations but were mostly bad or at best neutral, for some, went from an anathema to orthodoxy. And the idea that those neutral mutations would later magically provide the needed innovations became another evolutionary just-so story, told with conviction as though it was a scientific finding.
    Another problem with the theory of neutral molecular evolution is that it made even more obvious the awkward question of where these genes came from in the first place.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ay-of.html

  11. @Eric, niwrad,

    people who read these forums aren’t just anybody from the street, but those interested in the subject, those who know the difference.

    By using an imprecise, overloaded term “evolution” for “Darwinism” he weakens his points and denies himself access to legitimate supporting evidence. For example, within his terminology, C.H. cannot coherently point out that in every instance of evolution for which the explanation is known, it is always some intelligence that is guiding it.

    Hence, it is Darwinists, by insisting on explanation which violates the rule, who need to justify their pattern defying proposal, rather than those who point out the common underlying pattern, the guiding intelligence behind every other known process of evolution.

    Evolution is a sign of guiding intelligence at least as much as any of its particular biochemical phenomena is, such as instances of irreducible complexity, specified complexity, …, he is pointing out. E.g. evolution of computers over past decades is at least as indicative of intelligent guidance as some new CPU instruction is, a mere cog of the larger evolution of computer technology. Coming up with a better computer than the previous one requires more intelligence than compoing up with just a small part of the new computer.

    Hence, evolution is his strongest ally, not his main enemy as his unfortunate terminology suggests (to those who read these forums).

  12. 12
    sagebrush gardener

    timothya @ 1:

    Interesting? Fascinating, actually, and this research appears to help fill in the picture about how the mechanism works.

    Does it involve magical, unexplained poofery? Not so much – the auxin family of hormones mediate a lot of plant growth patterns, and their modes of activity are well understood.

    As a computer programmer for many years, I understand that nothing you see on your computer screen “just happens”. Everything, down to the tiniest pixel that you can see with a 10x loupe, is there because someone designed it that way.

    As someone who has worked on cars a bit, I understand that when you press the gas pedal, acceleration doesn’t “just happen”. There are many complex mechanisms and interrelated subsystems under the hood of your car that are designed to do this very thing.

    I’m sorry, but you have lost me, Timothy. “I understand how it works, therefore it is not designed” is a non sequitur. The fact that some attribute or function does not “just happen”, but is produced by a complex mechanism, is evidence for design.

  13. timothya:

    That auxin mediated growth processes orienting root and stem growth in plants with respect to gravity.

    Funny. Dawkins explains it by reference to who gets the most sunlight. If it weren’t for gravity trees would be as tall as, well, the sun.

  14. timothya:

    Does it involve magical, unexplained poofery?

    Ah. So it wasn’t “evolution” that did it.

  15. Esteemed Mung!!! Tim’s as thick as two short planks.

  16. nightlight @11:

    Well, I hear you. Might be good for design proponents to try to take back the word “evolution” (like Mung suggested the other day we should take back the word “creationist”). I just can’t get too exercised about Hunter referring to the term in the way that 99% of the population understands it. And Darwinism itself might not be quite the right word either, as it arguably excludes things like chemical evolution and materialistic OOL research that often come under the broad umbrella of “evolution.” So we are left with imperfect words in either case, unless we attach a number of qualifiers every time we utter the word.

    . . . evolution of computers over past decades is at least as indicative of intelligent guidance as some new CPU instruction is, a mere cog of the larger evolution of computer technology.

    See, there is in an interesting example of the word evolution in the most broad and non-specific sense. It is of course perfectly legitimate to use it in this context as you do. Personally, I tend not to use the word “evolution” in such a broad vague sense to refer to the development of technology over time. I think it is too passive and takes away from the actual sense of design work that was involved. But that is just a personal preference.

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