Can macro evolution be replicated in a lab?

it was pointed out by @ T_aquaticus that this speciation is not enough evidence for macroevolustion by proponent of OEC. It is still the same kind of plant.

Actually, animals can do that too.

The challenge is how to distinguish a new species (or higher category). In general, species are recognized as having some degree of reproductive isolation. But how much separation is enough? If two populations can freely interbreed, they are generally agreed to be conspecific. If they can’t interbreed at all, then they are generally agreed to be separate species. But there’s a huge continuum in between. If everything that a mallard has managed to produce a duckling with is the same species, there are not many different species of duck or goose. Some things can interbreed if put together, but do not naturally get together (e.g., lions and tigers). Obviously, asexual reproduction poses problems for such definitions.

The simplest case of quickly making a new species that is reasonably easy to do in lab and also happens often in the wild is polyploidy, often through hybridization. Plants do this all the time, but it is also known in many groups of animals. Hybridization and other processes can lead to offspring that has an extra set of chromosomes. They are not able to reproduce with the parent form(s), but may be able to reproduce asexually and/or with fellow polyploids. These are functionally new species produced in a single generation. The difference can be important – for some key schistosome host snails in Africa, different chromosome numbers have a big impact on whether the snail carries the parasite. An extreme example of this is the rabbage. As a cross between plants in different genera, it is essentially a lab-created new genus. It was intended to be a miracle of Soviet science feeding the world, but turned out to have cabbage roots and radish leaves. Rather more useful examples of polyploid hybrids include corn (maize) and wheat.

If you are looking for the amount of morphological difference, some mutant fruit flies do not have the right pattern of appendages to match being a proper insect.

Large changes are observed in lab experiments with bacteria. But in general, such change hasn’t been a major focus of experimental work. As already noted, it tends to take a while, and if you are trying to study genetics you don’t want to make something that can’t breed with your other lab populations.


They are concordists and generally inerrantists. So yes, they have to make all scientific evidence that they accept work with a literalistic interpretation of some kind.

It’s a myth that the Cambrian explosion can’t be explained by the evolutionary model.

If by reverse engineer you mean identify the genetic changes that led from an ancestor species to a descendent species, then yes, I believe scientists can already identify which mutations controlled which developmental differences.

For example, this explains investigations in the genetics of whale evolution from land-dwelling quadruped mammals to fully aquatic mammals. Many of the adaptations can be identified in terms of mutations that turn genes off and on.

To dive deeper into the question, the team compiled a list of protein-coding genes in humans, who, as mammals, still share many genes with cetaceans. Then they looked for known mutations that would turn genes off, meaning they could no longer make whatever they were meant to. Once they had these, they narrowed the search down to genes that were turned off in cetaceans, but not hippopotamuses, their closest ancestors on land. Finding a gene inactivated in cetaceans but not hippos was a strong hint that the genetic loss was a result of, or led to, cetaceans becoming fully aquatic. They then looked at previously-published studies of gene function to see what these genes did.

In all, they found 85 genes that cetaceans lost right around 50 million years ago as they began to become fully aquatic, 62 of which had never been reported before. Some of the gene losses simply removed things that were no longer necessary, while others granted them new abilities by altering key bodily functions.

All I was saying was that even if species don’t diverge into very different life forms over millions of years, like a platypus or an opossum, modern species are still genetically different from their ancient ancestors that have very similar physical forms. All species are evolving over time, it’s just that not all species have significant selective pressure exerted on them to lead to major adaptations. This situation is just as predicted by the evolutionary model as major changes in species that are exposed to significant selective pressure.

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Maybe, but that would be biotech, and nothing to do with evolution.

Evolution is just as much about constraint as it is about possibility. Dogs and tigers are both mammals, and have a common ancestor. In both cases, a mammal evolved into a mammal. While we may not know what the distant future may hold for dogs and tigers, time does not rewind. Evolution does not predict that one would or could evolve into the other.



For the casual observer reading this…

Dare I suggest that you perhaps mean fallacy rather than myth?

“Myth” has different meanings in different contexts, and the fallacy-like meaning of that “myth” word in everyday parlance such as this sentence is different from its literary meaning in relation to Genesis and which features so prominently in the science/faith debate… (But I suspect that @Christy knows this!)

Well, I meant myth in the “widely held but false belief or idea” sense of the word. I don’t think it’s a logic problem, it’s just wrong.

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Exactly. But I think our friend here holds an unreasonable notion that application in technology is the test of what is really science when he says

if macroevolution had occurred for millions of years thru genes mutation, then perhaps someday we know the how to tweak the genes not only to reverse engineer to common ancestor,

It is no more reasonable to suppose that understanding evolution requires our capacity to make it do our bidding than that understanding the Big Bang should require us to attain the capacity to set off a singularity of our own.


It’s been done! Watch Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn

This film was produced by a science education site

Please let me know when you have watched it. It’s also a great example of scientific methodology.

This film explores the genetic and archaeological evidence that suggest that corn is the result of the domestication of a wild Mexican grass called teosinte.

Ten thousand years ago, corn didn’t exist anywhere in the world, and until recently scientists argued vehemently about its origins. Today, the crop is consumed voraciously by us, by our livestock, and as a major part of processed foods. So where did it come from? This film tells the story of the genetic changes involved in the transformation of teosinte into corn and the supporting archaeological evidence pinpointing this transformation to a particular time and place in Mexico.

Is Old Earth Creationism about God periodically popping new species into existence? If not, how would you describe it?

That is a great informational video. Now, I wonder what OECs will think after seeing this video?

You are not an OEC?

That’s the simple way to put it. that God plays an active role in evolution, by creating some new species when needed. That is how I understand punctuated equilibrium.

I am not a scientist and I have great respect for christian scientists from both camps (OEC & EC). So therefore, I just follow the evidence leads and it can go either way. The video you have shown however lead me toward EC. Thank you for that.

I’m glad you found it useful.

just the kind of info I was looking for.

That was the whole point of my post from the beginning.

Punk Eek is not OEC.

The problem with OEC is you have God creating new species in a puff of smoke. This would include mammals and birds that never had parents and never had an opportunity to learn. Would they have false genomes? God would have to implant false memories and complex instincts into their brains.

And with new species of plants, God would have to be working with a trowel. Planting acorns that didn’t come from oak trees.

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Not really. You could use the same argument for man producing energy from nuclear fusion. I dont think many would think, oh we can do that now so why need a god to create the stars?!

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I think that is the problem. Every time someone refers to the work of a scientist who rejects evolution, they are invariably non-biologists. On another blog in on which I sometimes comment, someone posted me in the direction of Stuart Burgess, yet another non-biologist scientist/engineer. It’s funny how biologists never comment on Einstein’s theories of relativity. Though to be fair, they could comment on quantum mechanics given its role in biological processes.


Yes. Really. We already have demonstrated evolution in a lab but only a smaller scale than macro evolution. The scale of fusion in a lab even a fusion bomb is even more tiny compared to the sun, which is 20 trillion hydrogen bombs per second. The whole point is, macro evolution takes an enormous amount of time. And if we really could do that millions of times faster in a lab, then this is an excellent argument that God had nothing to do with evolution.

It wouldn’t mean there is no God. But it would certainly suggest that God simply looked for a place where life had evolved rather than helping it along.

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