Sunlight on Leaves

Photosynthesis “old as life”, according to articles in Imperial College London News 16 March 2021 and ScienceDaily 24 March 2021, and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics, published online 19 February 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2021.148400. 

The oxygen producing process of photosynthesis in green plants, algae and cyanobacteria begins with water molecules being split by an enzyme named Photosystem II.  Scientists from UK and Australia have used a method called Ancestral Sequence Reconstruction to work out when Photosystem II first evolved. 

According to the Imperial College London report “This method estimates the rate of evolution of proteins by looking at the time between known evolutionary moments, such as the emergence of different groups of cyanobacteria or land plants, which carry a version of these proteins today. The calculated rate of evolution is then extended back in time, to see when the proteins first evolved.” 

They then compared their estimate with estimates for other enzymes and cell components known to be essential for life, and therefore must have come into existence at the origin of cellular life.  Their calculation for Photosystem II was “nearly identical” to these essential components. 

Tanai Cardona, who led the study commented: “Now, we know that Photosystem II shows patterns of evolution that are usually only attributed to the oldest known enzymes, which were crucial for life itself to evolve.”  He went on to claim “Now we have a good sense of how photosynthesis proteins evolve, adapting to a changing world, we can use ‘directed evolution’ to learn how to change them to produce new kinds of chemistry.  We could develop photosystems that could carry out complex new green and sustainable chemical reactions entirely powered by light.”

Links: Imperial College, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: This study actually shows nothing about how photosynthesis proteins evolved.  You do need to know that although Photosystem II is described as an enzyme, it is not just one protein.  It is a complex of proteins and a number of other molecules, including chlorophyll, and it only works when all these are present and organised into the correct formation.  To claim to know how photosynthesis proteins evolved scientists would have to explain how a lot of small molecules, such as amino acids, came together in the right formation to make the all proteins and other molecules by themselves.  They have not done this! 

The scientists have just assumed photosynthesis came into existence all by itself some time back in the past and applied their already believed theory that any differences in molecular structure are the result of evolution over long periods of time. 

They did unintentionally get one thing correct though – photosynthesis IS as old as life.  The first life forms described in the Genesis account of creation were the green plants which God made on the third day of creation.  These were fully functioning plants, complete with working photosynthesis, ready to be used for food and habitat by the animals, birds and people that God created two and three days later.

We would also remind them there is no such thing as “directed evolution”.  If scientists are able to change photosynthetic complexes for man-made purposes it will involve creative design and manipulation, by intelligent scientists and chemical engineers.  This is not evolution.  It is actually proof that the original photosynthetic cellular machinery is the result of creative design. Come on secular evolutionists – admit it!

Creation Research News 7 April 2021

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