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
COVID-19
Some Fake Coronavirus News Used to Spread Malware
As a systems administrator, I see thousands of emails come in where someone is trying to get a user to click on a link. A lot of these are just plain old...

NEWS
Traces of "Oldest Ancestor" Found
A new study released on March 23, 2020, claims that evolutionary scientists have identified the oldest human ancestor. The fossil evidence for this assertion...

COVID-19
Three Positives from COVID-19
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is no surprise to God. God knew about this pandemic before the dawn of His creation. Some people may question why God allows such...

COVID-19
The Gospel and COVID-19
It is obvious that life in America, and most parts of the world, has drastically changed in the last few months due to the novel coronavirus. Whether we...

COVID-19
A Time for Firsts Amid COVID-19
All of us have experience with firsts, and today is no exception as America sails through the uncharted waters of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)....

COVID-19
What’s the Difference Between Virus and Bacteria?
As we are embroiled in a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know the basics of these tragic viral infections and why the medical community...

NEWS
ICR Beginning Search for a New President
As was noted in my article “Biblical Succession” in the April issue of Acts & Facts, the ICR Board of Trustees has authorized a national...

COVID-19
Potential Coronavirus Treatments Enter Large Clinical Trials
Some good news in potential treatment options for COVID-19 was reported in the American journal Science.1 Four new treatment options were being...

NEWS
Yellowstone Supervolcano Unlikely to Blow
For several years, secular scientists have been predicting a possible supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone National Park. Recently, the London Daily Mail...

NEWS
Deep Water Squid Communication Mystifies Scientists
In the deep, dark, cold waters of the Pacific Ocean—about 1,500 feet below the surface— hundreds of Humboldt squid the size of small humans...