Altruistic Aphids, an Evolutionary Anomaly | The Institute for Creation Research
Altruistic Aphids, an Evolutionary Anomaly

Certain aphids manipulate plant tissues to form a hollow gall in which they then reside. But aphids will also help heal plant tissue that they’ve damaged. This behavior serves as a vital self-defense mechanism, because when the gall’s walls are eaten by caterpillars, the tender aphids inside become easy prey for other insect predators.

Evolutionary biologist Takema Fukatsu of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, found that specialized aphid guards extrude their body contents to fill holes in the plant wall, “kneading their own gooey blood into a big scab.”1 Many of these types of aphids, named Nipponaphis monzeni, die in the process. In a recently-published study, the research team examined gall walls in various stages of repair and found that the aphid-made scab played the same role as animal-skin scabs, serving as templates for body tissue to grow over the area and repair the wound.2 Moreover, the aphids were responsible for manipulating the repair of the plant tissue, “because it healed only if live aphids were still in the gall.”1

Interestingly, scientists have labored for decades to manipulate plant tissue growth like these aphids do. This process entails many technical problems, since some kind of chemical must provide precise communication with the particular plant’s biochemical networks to signal specific dormant genes to activate.

Natural processes alone would not produce what is observed here: organisms sacrificing their lives for the greater good of the remaining individuals. Nor do they adequately account for the origin of tiny creatures that can precisely manipulate intricate biochemical pathways for the purpose of healing a plant wound.

Natural processes alone cannot explain it, but creation does. And now the Creator’s intricate and complex handiwork is providing a blueprint for scientists seeking to find “novel compounds that could prove useful for manipulating plant cell and tissue cultures.”1

References

  1. Youngsteadt, E. Aphids Play Doctor. ScienceNOW Daily News. Posted on sciencenow.sciencemag.org February 25, 2009.
  2. Kutsukake, M. Scab formation and wound healing of plant tissue by soldier aphid. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Published online before print February 25, 2009.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on March 17, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
Speciation of Bears, Birds, and Bacteria is not Evolution
Speciation may be defined as the separation of populations of animals or plants that resemble one another closely and originally able to interbreed—into...

NEWS
'Prehistoric' Paddlefish?
Evolutionists consider the freshwater paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) of the class Actinopterygii to be a prehistoric creature, a primitive bony fish “50...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Earth
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...

ACTS & FACTS
To the End of the Earth
The book of Acts recounts the apostles’ journeys across the Roman Empire from Jerusalem and Judea “to the end of the earth,” preaching...

APOLOGETICS
Lightning, Soil Bacteria, and God’s Providence
Nitrogen is vital for human survival, yet few appreciate how lightning and soil bacteria contribute to Earth’s nitrogen cycle. That Earth’s...

ACTS & FACTS
The Bobtail Squid's Living Cloaking Device
Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) live among the sand flats and sea plants of the Hawaiian archipelago. Along with other bobtail squid, these...

ACTS & FACTS
Seeing Distant Starlight in a Young Universe
Many see distant starlight as an unanswerable objection to recent creation. Both creationist and evolutionist astronomers agree that distant galaxies...

ACTS & FACTS
Yellowstone National Park, Part 2: Canyons and Catastrophe
by Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Brian Thomas, Ph.D.* About three million visitors tour Yellowstone National Park’s 3,440 square miles each year.1...

ACTS & FACTS
How Did the Bat Get Its Wings?
Where did bats come from? Evolutionists presuppose that some kind of rodent received just the right mutations to over “a few million years”...

ACTS & FACTS
Biblical Insights into Today’s Violent Mob Mentality
Some scenes from the evening news get etched into our memories. I recall seeing a college professor step outside his building and become suddenly surrounded...