Electric fish converge, according to reports in ScienceDaily 26 June 2014, ABC News in Science 27 June 2014 and Science vol. 344, p1522, 27 June 2014, doi: 10.1126/science.1254432. A team of scientists from a number of institutions in USA have assembled the genome of the electric eel Electrophorus electricus and identified the genes and biochemical pathways involved in the growth and development of electric tissues. They then looked for similar genes in other electric fish and compared them with the electric eel. There are six different fish that have an electricity producing organ, but they are far apart on the evolutionary tree. Therefore, the researchers claim electric organs “are a distinct vertebrate trait that has evolved at least six times independently. The taxonomic diversity of fishes that generate electricity is so profound that Darwin specifically cited them as an important example of convergent evolution”.

The new study revealed that all electric fish have the same genes and biochemical pathways to build the electric organ. One of the scientists, Jason Gallant, a zoologist at Michigan State University, explained: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ”. The research team concluded their report: “Our analysis suggests that a common regulatory network of transcription factors and developmental pathways may have been repeatedly targeted by selection in the evolution of EOs, despite their very different morphologies. Moreover, our work illuminates convergent evolution of EOs and emphasizes key signaling steps that may be foci for the evolution of tissues and organs in other organisms”. (EOs are electric organs)

ABC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Notice they have to use the language of creation, e.g. “use the same genetic toolbox to build …” when describing their findings.

Once again we see evolutionists hiding behind the excuse of “convergent evolution” to explain away a problem with evolutionary trees. The researchers’ claim that genes and biochemical pathways for electric organs were “repeatedly targeted by selection” does not actually explain anything. Biological structures and processes can only be targeted by selection if they already exist. You cannot select for something that doesn’t exist. What this study really shows is that there are certain biological components and processes needed for cells to produce electricity, and therefore, all electric fish have them, along with the genes that code for them.

From this study we see that electric fish are a good example of the creation-based principle that each kind of living thing is a unique combination of non-unique parts. This is exactly what you expect to result from living things being created as separate fully functional kinds, that have since reproduced after their kind, just as Genesis tells us God did. (Ref. ichthyology, electrocytes, genetics)

Evidence News vol. 14 No.12
9 July 2014
Creation Research Australia