And there’s a story in that (besides the obvious one):
Dr Jordi Paps, Lecturer from Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences and lead researcher, explained: “After comparing over 200 genomes of the plant kingdom, we discovered that the origin of land plants is associated with two explosions of new genes, an unprecedented level of genomic novelty. Our findings challenge previous views of this transition being more gradual at genetic level.
“The first burst predates the origin of land plants, before they left their aquatic environments, and comprises genes that explain why plants are multicellular. The second coincides with the origin of land plants, and involved genes related to adaptations to challenges found in terrestrial environments.”University of Bristol, “Scientists uncover how an explosion of new genes explain the origin of land plants” at ScienceDaily
Paper. (open access)
From the paper’s Summary:
Here, using an evolutionary genomics pipeline to compare 208 complete genomes, we analyze the gene content of the ancestral genomes of the last common ancestor of land plants and all other major groups of plant. This approach reveals an unprecedented level of fundamental genomic novelties in two nodes related to the origin of land plants: the first in the origin of streptophytes during the Ediacaran and another in the ancestor of land plants in the Ordovician. Our findings highlight the biological processes that evolved with the origin of land plants and emphasize the importance of conserved gene novelties in plant diversification. Comparisons to other eukaryotic studies suggest a separation of the genomic origins of multicellularity and terrestrialization in plants.Bowles et al., 2020, Current Biology 30, 1–7 February 3, 2020 ª 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.11.090
Stuck for what to call this, some of us would call it creationism. But never mind. We’ll probably see more of this so hang on.
A friend writes to remind us that UC-Berkeley paleontologist Charles Marshall savaged Steve Meyer his Science review of Darwin’s Doubt because Meyer thought that something like that must have happened with animals. Marshall was sure that nothing like that could have happened; the Darwinianly evolved genes merely needed rewiring. However, the friend tells us, a 2018 study in Nature Communications (open access) confirmed Meyer’s argument: “Reconstruction of the ancestral metazoan genome reveals an increase in genomic novelty.” Jordi Paps is an author on both studies.
Either Jordi Paps needs the witness protection program or we all need to lose a bunch of Darwinian fundamentalists pronto.
Richard Dawkins doesn’t explain it all for you.
See also: World’s oldest scorpions show no change from 437 million years ago. It doesn’t sound as though the scorpions bothered with much evolution. How would we distinguish their origin from creation? At a certain point, does evolution become creation? Just wondering.