We’ve written about polyploidy previously. It is something that is very intriguing given that it could be a mechanism for plant diversity. We currently are involved in a project examining polyploidy and how it impacts plant diversity but we wanted to give you all a sneak preview of it here. So, while this post may not be as organized as usual, we wanted to go over a few key questions. For those who may not already know what polyploidy is, I recommend you take a quick look at my previous article as it explains a lot of the background terminology.
Before going any further, I need to clear up a few things. When I wrote the original polyploidy article, I made the mistake of uncritically accepting some comments about polyploidy made by evolutionists. For one, they repeatedly state that polyploidy is found throughout the evolutionary history and that upwards of 70, maybe more, percent of plants have a polyploid ancestor. This is based on a concept known as paleopolyploidy, which is the idea that there were whole-genome duplications that took place several million years ago or more, and have since been diploidized out of the genome. This is based purely on the purported phylogenetic relationships that plants share with one another which are utterly false. Therefore the number of truly polyploid plants, not ones presumed to have a polyploid history, is likely much lower than the percentage listed.
With that out of the way, one of the primary concerns of the work we are doing on polyploidy is attempting to determine whether some or all of the plants were created polyploid from the beginning. The question is intriguing and one that needs to be asked. We have a solid model of post-flood speciation thanks to the tireless work of Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson in his masterful Replacing Darwin but such a model for plants is lacking, for a number of reasons. Created polyploidy could solve some of these issues.
Plants exhibit vast degrees of variation. This much is not disputed. Some of this variation may be a result of plants not going through as harsh a population bottleneck during the flood as multiple examples of a created baramin may have survived the Flood. Others may be epigenetic. There is some evidence that epigenetics has an impact on polyploidy or vice versa. However, epigenetics does not seem likely given it seems to only persist for a few generations. This seems to leave a lot of genetic variation unexplained unless some more diverse baramins were created polyploid.
Created polyploidy would have a couple of major advantages. The first is the additional genetic variation that could be added to the population. Normally, in Mendelian genetics, there would only be two options for a particular trait, three if codominance or partial dominance is in play per individual genome. Therefore for each mating, there would be a maximum of six separate options in a normal diploid mating. However, by raising this to a polyploid number, the options rise immensely. For example, in a tetraploid mating, there could be as many as five options per genome, ten per mating if incomplete or codominance is in play. Hexaploid mating would result in even larger options.
Another major advantage of polyploidy would not become evident until after the fall, but it is one the evolutionary community itself has recognized. Polyploid genomes mask deleterious mutations much better than diploid ones. This is because, unless the mutation is dominant, it will only be expressed fully if it has the same number of copies as the level of ploidy. For example, a recessive mutation will need four copies in a tetraploid genome, whereas it would only need two copies to manifest in a diploid genome. Where incomplete dominance is in play polyploidy is again an advantage because it requires four copies in a tetraploid genome to manifest fully, whereas in a diploid genome it is just two. Polyploidy clearly has the potential to mitigate the effects of mutations.
What then would we expect of polyploid plants that were created that way from the beginning? This is the question we are working on answering. Once we define the answers to this question, we will have put together a testable model that can be used to make predictions. Some of the things involved are modes of reproduction, members ploidy level in the present, size of the baramin, different modes of life in the baramin and numerous other things. If you have thoughts on the topic, feel free to give them to us, we will happily evaluate them.
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