Evolution in the News - September 2015
by Do-While Jones

Caffeine Jitters

The “convergent evolution” of caffeine should make evolutionists nervous.

Caffeine is a marvelous chemical produced naturally by just three kinds of plants: coffee; tea; and cacao (a.k.a. chocolate).

An evolutionist might naturally assume that the remarkable ability to produce caffeine was inherited from a common ancestor. Genetic analysis proves that assumption to be wrong, as this diagram from a recent article in the professional literature shows.


If coffee inherited the ability to produce caffeine from the common ancestor of coffee, tea, and cacao, then tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, sunflowers, spinach, strawberries, grapes, and many other plants should have inherited it, too.

One possibility is that the ancestors of all these other plants did have the ability to fight insects by producing caffeine, and lost that ability despite the fact that it provided a survival advantage—but that makes no sense at all! So, the evolutionists who did this analysis fell back on their old standby, luck. They say that “convergent evolution,” caused the same genes independently to arise miraculously in three separate species.

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1 France Denoeud, et al., Science, 5 September 2014, “The coffee genome provides insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine biosynthesis”, pp. 1181-1184, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1255274