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Researchers: Photosynthesis may be a billion years older than thought … But WAIT!

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Leaf at work/ © Korn V., Adobe Stock

From ScienceDaily:

The finding could mean the evolution of photosynthesis needs a rethink, turning traditional ideas on their head. …

Plants, algae, and some bacteria today perform ‘oxygenic’ photosynthesis, which splits water into oxygen and hydrogen to power the process, releasing oxygen as a waste product.

Some bacteria instead perform ‘anoxygenic’ photosynthesis, a version that uses molecules other than water to power the process and does not release oxygen.

Scientists have always assumed that anoxygenic photosynthesis is more ‘primitive’, and that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved from it. Under this view, anoxygenic photosynthesis emerged about 3.5 billion years ago and oxygenic photosynthesis evolved a billion years later.

However, by analysing structures inside an ancient type of bacteria, Imperial College London researchers have suggested that a key step in oxygenic photosynthesis may have already been possible a billion years before commonly thought.

The new research is published in the journal Trends in Plant Science.

Lead author of the study, Dr Tanai Cardona from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: “We’re beginning to see that much of the established story about the evolution of photosynthesis is not supported by the real data we obtain about the structure and functioning of early bacterial photosynthesis systems.”

The bacteria they studied, Heliobacterium modesticaldum, is found around hot springs, soils and waterlogged fields, where it performs anoxygenic photosynthesis. It is very distantly related to cyanobacteria, the main bacteria that performs oxygenic photosynthesis today.

It is so distantly related that it last had a ‘common ancestor’ with cyanobacteria billions of years ago. This means that any traits the two bacteria share are likely to also have been present in the ancient bacteria that gave rise to them both.

By analysing the structures that both H. modesticaldum and modern cyanobacteria use to perform their different types of photosynthesis, Dr Cardona found striking similarities.

Both structures contain a site that cyanobacteria and plants exclusively use to split water — the first crucial step in oxygenic photosynthesis.

The evolution of cyanobacteria is usually assumed to also be the first appearance of oxygenic photosynthesis, but the fact that H. modesticaldum contains a similar site means that the building blocks for oxygenic photosynthesis are likely much more ancient than thought, as old as photosynthesis itself, and therefore could have arisen much earlier in Earth’s history.

Dr Cardona also suggests that this might mean oxygenic photosynthesis was not the product of a billion years of evolution from anoxygenic photosynthesis, but could have been a trait that evolved much sooner, if not first.Paper. paywall – Tanai Cardona, A. William Rutherford. Evolution of Photochemical Reaction Centres: More Twists? Trends in Plant Science, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2019.06.0 More.

Did you get that? “Dr Cardona also suggests that this might mean oxygenic photosynthesis was not the product of a billion years of evolution from anoxygenic photosynthesis, but could have been a trait that evolved much sooner, if not first.” So when did the billions of years of Darwinian evolution that “gradually evolved” photosynthesis happen?

Calling a security guard won’t be much use in this case.

One change some of us have noticed is that people discussing this kind of information/interpretation are much less likely than they used to be to rush to reassure us all of their Darwinian credentials. One can see why there’s less of that now, of course.

See also: Did land plants get started when algae moved into fungi? “Surprisingly, when they are grown together for a long time — around a month — some algal cells enter the fungal cells. Both organisms remain active and healthy in this relationship. ” This is one likely vector but did all plants really need fungi to live on land?

Researchers: Plants Colonized Earth 100 Mya Earlier Than Thought

and

Flowering Plants Pushed Back By A Mere 100 Million Years?

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3 Replies to “Researchers: Photosynthesis may be a billion years older than thought … But WAIT!

  1. 1
    PaV says:

    Dr Cardona also suggests that this might mean oxygenic photosynthesis was not the product of a billion years of evolution from anoxygenic photosynthesis, but could have been a trait that evolved much sooner, if not first.

    “If not first”!!

    Is Michael Behe’s First Rule of Adaptation at work: that is, did anoxygenic photosynthesis occur via a “loss” of function within the oxygenic bacteria? If so, where did this incredibly difficult and precise system of energy production come from? How did this arise “randomly”?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    According to Fazale Rana, who has a PhD. in molecular biology, “the biosynthetic routes needed to make the key molecular component of anoxygenic photosynthesis are more complex than the pathways that produce the corresponding component required for the oxygenic form.”;

    “Remarkably, the biosynthetic routes needed to make the key molecular component of anoxygenic photosynthesis are more complex than the pathways that produce the corresponding component required for the oxygenic form.”;
    Early Life Remains Complex By Fazale R. Rana (FACTS for FAITH Issue 7, 2001)

    And oxygenic photosynthesis is exceedingly complex in its own right;

    Evolutionary biology: Out of thin air John F. Allen & William Martin:
    The measure of the problem is here: “Oxygenetic photosynthesis involves about 100 proteins that are highly ordered within the photosynthetic membranes of the cell.”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....5610a.html

    The following reference is good for showing how photosynthesis could not have possibly evolved gradually as Darwinists hold since photosynthesis is an interdependent system of 26 protein complexes and enzymes in which all steps are required, otherwise glucose is not produced.

    Enzymes and protein complexes needed in photosynthesis – with graphs
    Excerpt: the existence of interdependent systems in nature is evidence for design by God.
    In photosynthesis, 26 protein complexes and enzymes are required to go through the light and light independent reactions, to transform light energy into glucose, a metabolic intermediate for cell respiration. The protein complexes are uniquely used in photosynthesis. The pathway must go all the way through, and all steps are required, otherwise glucose is not produced. Also, in the oxygen evolving complex, which splits water into electrons, protons, and CO2, if the light-induced electron transfer reactions do not go all the five steps through, no oxygen, no protons and electrons are produced, no advanced life would be possible on earth. So, photosynthesis is a interdependent system, that could not have evolved, since all parts had to be in place right from the beginning.
    http://reasonandscience.catsbo.....osynthesis

    The 10 Step Glycolysis Pathway In ATP Production: An Overview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kn6BVGqKd8

    At the 14:00 minute mark of the following video, Chris Ashcraft, who has a PhD in molecular biology, gives us an overview of the Citric Acid Cycle, which is, after the 10 step Glycolysis Pathway, also involved in ATP production:

    Evolution vs ATP Synthase – Chris Ashcraft – video – citric acid cycle at 14:00 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rUV4CSs0HzI#t=746

    Moreover photosynthesis is found to be widespread with no clear evolutionary relationships between them:

    The Elaborate Nanoscale Machine Called Photosynthesis: No Vestige of a Beginning – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: “The ability to do photosynthesis is widely distributed throughout the bacterial domain in six different phyla, with no apparent pattern of evolution. Photosynthetic phyla include the cyanobacteria, proteobacteria (purple bacteria), green sulfur bacteria (GSB), firmicutes (heliobacteria), filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs, also often called the green nonsulfur bacteria), and acidobacteria (Raymond, 2008).”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....8048253561

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    In fact, “Despite its complexity, C4 photosynthesis is one of the best examples of ‘convergent evolution’, having “evolved” more than 50 times in at least 18 plant families (Sage 2004; Conway Morris 2006).”

    “Despite its complexity, C4 photosynthesis is one of the best examples of ‘convergent evolution’, having evolved more than 50 times in at least 18 plant families (Sage 2004; Conway Morris 2006).”
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....9.full.pdf

    In other words, instead of atheists believing that photosynthesis miraculously beat all the odds and spontaneously arose once, now atheists must believe that photosynthesis miraculously beat all the odds 50 times to ‘spontaneously’ arise.

    Moreover, the efficiency of photosynthesis trounces any machine man has ever built in terms of efficiency. The following study found that ‘Certain biological systems living in low light environments have unique protein structures for photosynthesis that use quantum dynamics to convert 100% of absorbed light into electrical charge,,,’

    Unlocking nature’s quantum engineering for efficient solar energy – January 7, 2013
    Excerpt: Certain biological systems living in low light environments have unique protein structures for photosynthesis that use quantum dynamics to convert 100% of absorbed light into electrical charge,,,
    These biological systems can direct a quantum process, in this case energy transport, in astoundingly subtle and controlled ways – showing remarkable resistance to the aggressive, random background noise of biology and extreme environments.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-n.....nergy.html

    In the following video Dr. Walter Bradley goes over the fine tuning of the fundamental universal constants, light, and biological life for each other. Here is a short clip from that video:

    Creation of the Cosmos – Dr. Walter Bradley – Walter Bradley – (36 minute mark) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4_SQzM-1AY

    And here is an article from Dr. Bradley entitled, “Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe”, in which Dr. Bradley also goes over the fine tuning of the fundamental universal constants, light, and biological life for each other.

    Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe – Dr. Walter L. Bradley
    http://www.leaderu.com/offices.....dence.html

    In the paper Dr. Bradley also lists four graphs. At the bottom of the four graphs he states: “The visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (~1 micron) is the most intense radiation from the sun (Figure 3.1); has the greatest biological utility (Figure 3.2); and passes through atmosphere of Earth (Figure 3.3) and water (Figure 3.4) with almost no absorption. It is uniquely this same wavelength of radiation that is idea to foster the chemistry of life. This is either a truly amazing series of coincidences or else the result of careful design.”

    The visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (~1 micron) is the most intense radiation from the sun (Figure 3.1); has the greatest biological utility (Figure 3.2); and passes through atmosphere of Earth (Figure 3.3) and water (Figure 3.4) with almost no absorption. It is uniquely this same wavelength of radiation that is idea to foster the chemistry of life. This is either a truly amazing series of coincidences or else the result of careful design.

    And as the following video states at the 4:00 minute mark,,, “These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions.”

    4:00 minute mark,,, “These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions.”
    Privileged Planet (Chapter 9 of 12)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quhucmOAdss

    And in the following article, Michael Denton quotes the Encyclopaedia Britannica which states “Considering the importance of visible sunlight for all aspects of terrestrial life, one cannot help being awed by the dramatically narrow window in the atmospheric absorption…and in the absorption spectrum of water”

    Is Earth’s Apparent Design for Life Simply the “Most Severe Case of Observational Bias in the History of Science”? – Michael Denton – May 9, 2014
    Excerpt: the fact that the gases of the atmosphere let through just the right light for photosynthesis and the generation of oxygen while at the same time absorbing all the harmful EM radiation on either side of the visual window. Commenting on the narrowness of this crucial window, the Encyclopaedia Britannica remarks13: “Considering the importance of visible sunlight for all aspects of terrestrial life, one cannot help being awed by the dramatically narrow window in the atmospheric absorption…and in the absorption spectrum of water”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/05/is_earths_appar/

    And in the following article entitled ‘The “just right” relationship of the light spectrum and photosynthesis’, the author points out that for photosynthesis to occur, ‘light must be of the right color. Light of the wrong color won’t do the trick’. ,,, and the article further goes on to state “There was only one chance in 10^25 of the Sun’s providing just the right kind of light necessary for us,,,”

    The ” just right ” relationship of the light spectrum and photosynthesis
    Excerpt: The American astronomer George Greenstein discusses this in The Symbiotic Universe, p 96:
    Chlorophyll is the molecule that accomplishes photosynthesis… The mechanism of photosynthesis is initiated by the absorption of sunlight by a chlorophyll molecule. But in order for this to occur, the light must be of the right color. Light of the wrong color won’t do the trick.,,,
    The harmony between stellar and molecular physics that Greenstein refers to is a harmony too extraordinary ever to be explained by chance. There was only one chance in 10^25 of the Sun’s providing just the right kind of light necessary for us and that there should be molecules in our world that are capable of using that light. This perfect harmony is unquestionably proof of Intelligent Design.
    http://reasonandscience.catsbo.....osynthesis

    Thus, Darwinists, as usual, are at a complete loss to explain how any of this interdependent complexity, (from the irreducibly complex photosynthetic molecules themselves to the fine tuning of constants of the universe to the atmosphere and water of Earth itself), came about. Whereas, on the other hand, Intelligent Design advocates have another fairly impressive and robust piece of evidence with photosynthesis.

    Verse:

    Psalm 104:14
    He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth,

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