Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Billion-year-old algae (“leaves, … branches …”) raise some interesting questions

Like any real history, evolution is not driven by a single force or idea. Horizontal gene transfer from bacteria obviates the quest for an “ancestor” seaweed. Maybe there isn’t one. Read More ›

Researchers build public “library” to help understand photosynthesis

From ScienceDaily: It isn’t easy being green. It takes thousands of genes to build the photosynthetic machinery that plants need to harness sunlight for growth. And yet, researchers don’t know exactly how these genes work. Now a team led by Princeton University researchers has constructed a public “library” to help researchers to find out what each gene does. Using the library, the team identified 303 genes associated with photosynthesis including 21 newly discovered genes with high potential to provide new insights into this life-sustaining biological process. The study was published online this week in Nature Genetics. “The part of the plant responsible for photosynthesis is like a complex machine made up of many parts, and we want to understand what Read More ›

Food, sex, and memory in one-celled algae, once again

Recently, we looked at the claim that diatoms (one-celled algae with glassy shells) demonstrate the ability to make choices. That seems hard to account for in the absence of a brain (though the researchers were convinced they saw it happen). Our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon writes to clarify a point about the diatoms: The article was a bit misleading on the use of “sex,” suggesting that diatoms had to chose between food and sex. So here’s some info about diatom replication. The most common or normal way a diatom multiplies is by asexual binary division. Only the outside of a diatom is made of glass, or more precisely two pieces of glass like a pill box, or two petri Read More ›

Algae have genes otherwise known only in land plants

Plants are thought to have started moving to land 500 million years ago. The algae are presumed to have been carrying the redundant genes since then. So did they then pre-exist the move to land? From ScienceDaily: 500 million years ago, the first plants living in water took to land. The genetic adaptations associated with this transition can already be recognized in the genome of Chara braunii, a species of freshwater algae. An international research team headed by Marburg biologist Stefan Rensing reports on this in the journal Cell. Rainer Hedrich and Dirk Becker from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany, are also members of this team. “The genes of the Chara braunii alga comprises numerous evolutionary innovations that have Read More ›