Evolution of flowering plants

Genetic evidence from studies of flowering plants is showing that their evolution didn’t proceed by random mutation, but proceeded by building on previous genetic structure. It’s like a genetic Lego set:

Though a rose, carnation or tulip each has its own distinguishing feel, look and smell, they all share one common trait: the flower’s petals adorn its perimeter while the reproductive organs sit in the flower’s center.

In fact, just about every flowering plant ever cataloged follows this same pattern. Until recently scientists didn’t understand how this occurred.

[Plant biologist Detlef Weigel] “Now, we show that the pattern arose through clever recycling of another pattern that plants had previously used in shoots, for other purposes. This is a big step toward solving the “abominable mystery,” as Darwin put it ” the evolutionary origin of flowers and flowering plants.

5 thoughts on “Evolution of flowering plants

  1. Aristotle’s metaphysics of teleology shows up again, much less Aquinas’ argument in the Summa, darn it all!

    Of course, the biologists missing the teleological aspect only adds to my amusement :)

  2. There’s nothing new under the Sun. It sure seems like the Greeks put forth all the original meaningful ideas, and all we’ve done since then is rediscover them using more and more sophisticated techniques.

  3. Heh, yeah. I guess that’s job security for people like me. What’s interesting, though, is that the more we learn about physics, the more it confirms a lot of early thought on metaphysics.

  4. “The Greeks: providing 3000+ years of job security for physicists!”

    “…[T]he more we learn about physics, the more it confirms a lot of early thought on metaphysics.”

    For me, this just adds support that the universe is intelligible and logical. Which in turns bolsters my belief in a Divine Creator that possesses intelligence and reason.

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