Thursday, October 25, 2007

Evolution in Action: CORN!!

A funny example of real-world foreshadowing is that all of my undergraduate research experience involved transposable elements. But instead of transposable elements in humans, I was studying transposable elements in corn! Living in Missouri, then Nebraska, and now Oklahoma, corn is kinda a hard thing to escape, and I didnt enjoy using it for research as much as I should have. But despite my corn saturation, one thing I came to love about corn, is that its a plant.

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"WHAT???" you dear readers might exclaim. "What the hell does that mean?? Of course corn is a plant! I think you need to take a break from listening to Dembski..."

Nonononono, see, the cool thing about plants is that they never fail to stun Creationists when brought up in a debate/conversation! They want to talk about rocks and hamsters evolving into elephants, not the evolution of daffodils! Maybe its because Creationists dont think plants are alive, thus are incapable of evolving, but plant evolution is a nice ace to have up your sleeve if you need a Creationist to shut up for 15 seconds.

So check out Stephen Mathesons sweet post on some of the basics of corn evolution! Maybe its my corn-filled background, but I think its written in great layman terms, and can set you on the right path for learning more about corn evolution (some things to hunt for-- the impact of transposable elements, the development of 'irreducibly complex' systems from gene duplications).

Seriously, folks, corn is a nice weapon to have in your arsenal. You never know when a Creationist is going to have you cornered in a dark alley with a jar of peanut butter and a banana.

12 comments:

Tyler DiPietro said...

If corn evolved from grass native to southwestern Mexico, why are there still monkeys?

Dustin said...

I've often used teosinte as one of my creationist slaying tools, ever since I commandeered my wife's copy of "Breeding Field Crops".

Freelancer said...

Yes,
Corn is a great thing,
Now if I could just get Husker fans to stop wearing corn on their HEAD.

It's worse than the cheesehead, seriously.

But what do I care, I'm a Mav.

Chris Noble said...

That ain't evolution. It's not natural selection because men were really designing corn. It's intelligent design I say! It's all evidence for ID!

Nobody can do experiments to prove evolution because if you do an experiment then it isn't natural and evolution is all about natural selection and mutation.

It's exactly the same with physics. If you do experiments with electromagnets then they're not natural electric and magnet fields. No no no. It's God's will alone that guides the path of each of his electrons. Nothing to do with those crazy theories from Faraday and Maxwell!

Chris Noble said...

PS. Where's my quantum woo?

And don't think you can distract me with more pictures of your research equipment!

Ian said...

Plants have all the cool stuff when it comes to evolution. Someone says that evolution is a historical science, and no one has seen it happen? Tell them that 150 years ago, scientists tested a hypothesis of wheat evolution and created a whole new species (triticale). Of course, some of the more stupid ones will say "but it was in the lab, so it's "intelligently designed". But Rubisco is what really rocks. Rubisco lies at the basis of all life. Without it, we wouldn't exist. But it's such a horribly badly "designed" enzyme that plants need tons of it - it's the most abundant protein in the world. Why is it so bad at what it does? Because it evolved in a world that was oxygen poor and carbon dioxide rich. So if there was a "designer" (a) s/he lacked foresight, and (b) has some seriously screwed up priorities, making malaria so that a child dies in her mother's arms (cf, Behe) but not bothering to change Rubisco so that it works better in an oxygen-rich environment.

Dustin said...

The classification of evolution as a "historical science" is steaming load of dookie. Paleontology:Evolution::Astronomy::Astropysics.

Dustin said...

Where's my quantum woo?

This ought to hold you over.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

If corn evolved from grass native to southwestern Mexico, why are there still monkeys?

:-)

And if you doubt this is possible, how is it there are Pygmy date palms + Dwarf junipers?

Dustin said...

Citrus trees were a half mile tall before the flood. If you doubt this is possible, HOW ARE THERE KEY LIMES + BERGAMOT?

Chris Noble said...

This ought to hold you over.

The art of Quantum Wealth!

I tried using quantum tunneling once at the local bank. I was just about to collapse the wave function of 10 million dollars on my side of the bank vault when the police caught me and confiscated my improbability drive.

SFMatheson said...

[On knees, bowing worshipfully] Thanks for the plug, Abbie! [Gets up] I admit that I'm embarrassed to have cited you, in a post on corn, without mentioning transposable elements. Oops. Teosinte rocks, and Doebley should be knighted. You think Dembski's even heard of him? Besotted, Steve M.