Bacterial Evolution in the Laboratory? | The Institute for Creation Research

Bacterial Evolution in the Laboratory?

Back in 1988, researchers placed bacteria in an environment that pressured them to evolve the ability to metabolize (eat) citrate instead of the standard glucose. After 31,500 generations and 20 years, the bacteria finally ate citrate.1

Actually, this does represent new information acquired by the bacteria. However, the kind of information is critical to the question of whether Darwinian evolution has taken place. There is a difference between originating new information that is less specified, and originating new information that is more specified.

Consider this sentence: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It can be mutated thus: “The ear of the Lord is the beginning of wwwisdom.” The mutant form contains new information, but not the kind needed for it to “evolve” to a higher level of meaningful complexity. The “new” information in this example is not both specified and complex—it is complex but unspecified. It is not the kind of specified, complex information necessary to evolve a dinosaur into a bird, for example. This bacteria’s mutated “new information” would be useless for building new features such as hollow bones, continuous lungs, and flight feathers.

Now consider this change from the original: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” For neo-Darwinism to be demonstrated, brand new specified information needs to appear, integrated into the original and producing a novel, functional structure. This has not been demonstrated.

Although the bacteria under investigation gained the ability to process citrate, it was likely (although we do not yet know for sure) caused by the loss of their enzyme’s ability to recognize only glucose. It could also represent the expression of a pre-existing but dormant gene—again, nothing new. After all those generations, the tested bacteria remain the same genus and species, Escherichia coli. So far, the bacteria reproduce “according to their own kinds,” just as Genesis states.2

References

  1. Blount, Z. D. et al. 2008. Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 105 (23): 7899-906. Posted online June 4, 2008.
  2. Genesis 1:20-25.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on June 16, 2008.

The Latest
NEWS
Geneticist Fired for Affirming Humans Once Lived 900 Years?
Geneticist Alexander Kudryavtsev, the head of the Russian Academy of Science’s Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, has been fired, reportedly...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Solar Eclipses
Designed by Susan Windsor* You're never too young to be a creation scientist and explore our Creator's world. Kids, discover fun facts...

APOLOGETICS
Motmot's Beauty Displays God’s Gracious Design
Beauty is God’s good gift. Whatever is truly good and beautiful comes from God (James 1:17), whose own beauty is beyond words. King David longed...

ACTS & FACTS
Eclipses: The Handiwork of Jesus Christ
Many remarkable events have occurred over the past 50+ years of the Institute for Creation Research’s ministry, but one of the most exciting is...

ACTS & FACTS
Dolomite Problem Best Solved by Flood
Dolomite is a very common sedimentary rock, comprising about 30% of all carbonate rocks.1,2 Its chemical formula is MgCa(CO3)2, whereas the...

ACTS & FACTS
RNA Editing: Adaptive Genome Modification on the Fly
When the workings of the genome were first being discovered, the central evolutionary dogma of molecular biology claimed that genetic information passes...

ACTS & FACTS
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve: Colossal Ice Age...
The tallest sand dunes in North America are found in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, located on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley...

ACTS & FACTS
Why Biology Needs a Theory of Biological Design – Part 1
Anyone who watches American football has observed a predictable inconsistency. When a pass is caught extremely close to the sideline, everyone with...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Spring 2024
...

NEWS
Is There Evidence for a Creator?
Contrary to what some scientists claim, there is compelling philosophical and scientific evidence that a Creator of the universe exists. For example,...