Plant Diversity: Potential for Exploration

Plant Diversity: Potential for Exploration

As part of one of my recent podcasts, I discussed the origin of plant diversity. I wanted to come back to it here for a couple of reasons, primarily being the articles have a larger reach, but also the article format allows me to articulate ideas that are a bit harder to express in a podcast format. Plants are incredibly diverse groups, with some families having thousands of species in them. The creation model must have a mechanism to account for this diversity.  Though not many plant baramins have been delineated yet,  there are some inferences we can draw even from undelineated groups. This article will propose several potential mechanisms for the origins of plant diversity.

Even though many plant baramins have not been discovered, we can still infer quite a bit about plant diversity by making the assumption that the family is approximately the level of the baramin, something even some evolutionists have accidentally agreed with.  Verne Grant in his seminal book on plant speciation by that title referred to something called the syngameon, which he thought was around the family level. Thus creationists are far from alone in using the family level as the level beyond which, no genes are passed.

The first mechanism of diversification within the baramin is derived from our knowledge of the flood. The plant baramins were not taken onto the ark, except as food. Thus it is conceivable, even likely, that more than just a few members of each plant baramin survived the flood. This would have allowed each baramin to retain much more of the diversity it was created with, unlike animal kinds which likely lost at least some diversity due to the flood.  Of course, some plant kinds did lose diversity during the flood and some even went extinct, either during or shortly after the flood, but the majority survived and thrived.

Another potential mechanism is polyploidy. I’ve discussed polyploidy before, even doing a lengthy research article on it a few months ago. However, just as a brief recap, because polyploidy consists of multiple extra copies of the entire genome, the potential is present for a significant amount of extra diversity in the genome, if it was created in the original kinds.  Polyploidy arising later would only be able to draw from existing information and thus would not produce any phenotypes which did not already exist.   However, putting the extra copies into the genome, in the beginning, would have increased the available diversity, leading to greater diversity within the group as it speciated out prior to the flood. This, in turn, would have led to more diversity potentially surviving the flood and speciating even further thereafter.

One final mechanism could be in play here. That mechanism is something I wrote about recently in regards to a news article that came out claiming that a certain grass species had undergone horizontal gene transfer multiple times in it’s life history. That article will be posted before this one so keep an eye out for that.  Horizontal gene transfer is one organism giving a piece of its genome to another organism. This piece is passed between two already free-living organisms, and only a piece of the genome is passed, unlike in heredity where the child organisms get copies of the whole genome. Horizontal gene transfer is well known in bacteria, and has been postulated, but not demonstrated, in plants before this article.  Since the evolutionists did not actually demonstrate horizontal gene transfer, instead referring to the useless phylogenies, horizontal gene transfer in plants is by no means established. However, if it does work, it would be an excellent mechanism to maintain diversity within the created kinds.  Even if one species in a given kind were to lose some genes during speciation, horizontal gene transfer could replace them, or add new genes from the same kind which a given species had not possessed previously.

These options are by no means mutually exclusive. It is completely possible that polyploidy, horizontal gene transfer, and a plethora of flood survivors were all involved in the diversification of plants in the post-flood world.  However, it is well to be careful with extrapolating beyond the data. We cannot confirm any of these mechanisms experimentally as yet, and until such time, it is wise to postulate this as a potential mechanism or mechanisms, rather than being dogmatic about it.

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