Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
Previous Claim: CB501   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB601

Claim CB510:

Evolution cannot explain the origin of photosynthesis.


Nelson, Chuck, 2001. Purposelessness personified.


  1. This is yet another argument from incredulity. Not knowing how something evolves is a limit of ourselves, not of evolution.

    We would not expect the evolution of photosynthesis to be easy to unravel. Photosynthesis has been evolving for more than three billion years, originating even before eukaryotes (Awramik 1992). Its early history involved gene transfer among several phyla of bacteria, making the trail harder to trace genetically (Raymond et al. 2003). Different components of photosynthesis have independent evolutionary pathways. However, much progress has been made in determining how photosynthesis evolved (Baymann et al. 2001; Blankenship 1992; Blankenship and Hartman 1998; Xiong and Bauer 2002).


  1. Awramik, S. M., 1992. The oldest records of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis Research 33: 75-89.
  2. Baymann, F., M. Brugna, U. Muhlenhoff and W. Nitschke., 2001. Daddy, where did (PS)I come from? Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1507(1-3): 291-310.
  3. Blankenship, R. E., 1992. Origin and early evolution of photosynthesis. Photosynth Res. 33: 91-111.
  4. Blankenship, R. E. and H. Hartman, 1998. The origin and evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 23(3): 94-97.
  5. Raymond, J., O. Zhaxybayeva, J. P. Gogarten and R. E. Blankenship, 2003. Evolution of photosynthetic prokaryotes: a maximum-likelihood mapping approach. Philosophical Transactions, Biological Sciences 358(1429): 223-230.
  6. Xiong, J. and C. E. Bauer, 2002. (see below)

Further Reading:

Xiong, J. and C. E. Bauer, 2002. Complex evolution of photosynthesis. Annual Review of Plant Biology 53: 503-521. (technical)
Previous Claim: CB501   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB601

created 2003-7-30, modified 2004-8-25