In humans, malfunction of these proteins is associated with cancer development.
Purdue University horticulturalist Wendy Peer, experimenting on Arabidopsis plants, discovered that she could restore dying plants by inserting a protein found in humans. Plants missing the aminopeptidase M1 protein (APM1) will fail to develop roots properly and will soon die. The human insulin responsive aminopeptidase (IRAP) protein, however, met the plants’ needs and restored root development.
Peer interprets the similarity as evidence of a shared evolutionary lineage: “APM1 and IRAP are in the same group. [APM1] activity is such a fundamental process that it’s been conserved evolutionarily. This protein has changed very little over time.”
In humans, malfunction of these proteins is associated with cancer development. In plants, however, their function is not fully understood. Is there an evolutionary connection? Does protein similarity prove that humans and Arabidopsis plants shared a common ancestor?
That conclusion is certainly not logically necessary. Similarities can just as easily, or even more easily, be evidence of common design; God re-used certain designs, even in organisms not considered to be close evolutionary relatives. Considering the millions of years of evolution that would have separated Arabidopsis and humans from their supposed common ancestor, common design is a much more plausible answer.
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