Implications of Genetic Convergent Evolution for Common Descent

In the previous post, I discussed a recent paper in Trends in Genetics, “Causes and evolutionary significance of genetic convergence,” which notes that that genetic convergence is not uncommon, even though only a “restricted number of substitutions” at the genetic level can create novel phenotypic traits. This data not only shows that functional genotypes are rare, but it also poses a much deeper problem for evolutionary thinking–one that challenges the very basis for constructing phylogenetic trees. The main assumption behind evolutionary trees is that functional genetic similarity implies inheritance from a common ancestor. But “convergent” genetic evolution shows that there are many instances where functional similarity is not the result of inheritance from a common ancestor. So when we find Read More ›

Convergent Genetic Evolution: “Surprising” Under Unguided Evolution, Expected Under Intelligent Design

A recent article in Trends in Genetics, “Causes and evolutionary significance of genetic convergence,” addresses the apparently “convergent” appearance of genes or gene sequences and how unguided evolution can explain this. The paper defines convergence as the “independent appearance of the same trait in different lineages.” Thus, genetic convergence is the independent appearance of the same genetic trait in different lineages. The article starts by explaining how widespread convergent evolution is: The recent wide use of genetic and/or phylogenetic approaches has uncovered diverse examples of repeated evolution of adaptive traits including the multiple appearances of eyes, echolocation in bats and dolphins, pigmentation modifications in vertebrates, mimicry in butterflies for mutualistic interactions, convergence of some flower traits in plants, and multiple Read More ›