It is thought by some that plants would
have been unable to survive the Biblical flood. However, plants have
adaptive abilities that surpass all other multicellular organisms,
and are therefore perhaps the most difficult
to completely exterminate of any organism on earth. This is due to an
extraordinary ability to reproduce during times of stress, and also
because unlike other sexually reproducing organisms, most plants can self
fertilize and therefore are able to alter their genome more dramatically
without the worry of being able to find a sexually compatible mate.
respond to stress by reproducing through either sexual or vegetative
will sacrifice all metabolic reserves to rapidly set seed when
the conditions indicate winter or draught is coming. Seeds that were set
before the flood could easily have survived the event because they are designed to weather a period of
hardship and not germinate immediately after maturation. Seeds enter a
state of dormancy and are equipped with a seed coat possessing sufficient
density to prevent precocious germination during the winter or dry season.
The seed coat must decompose or be breeched so water can penetrate and
break dormancy before the seed will germinate. Such decomposition is
typically accomplished by bacteria
and fungi, which like plant embryos are not metabolically active
at temperatures expected during the flood. In addition, some
seeds (such as cherry) will not germinate for years unless they
pass through the digestive tract of an animal first.
could survive the flood, no plant needs to generate seed to reproduced. Most plants
readily undergo vegetative propagation. It is well known that plants send
out runners and reproduce through vegetative nodes, but a more remarkable
ability exists. Plants can spawn a clone of itself from any cell. Through
the process known as organogenesis or somatic embryogenesis, a plant will
emerge from a mass of wound tissue. Regeneration through this mechanism
demonstrates a level of survivability not possessed by any other group of
genetic transformations are now being performed with regularity.
The success of these techniques is in part due to the development
of strategies to regenerate an entire plant from a single cell.
This is required to obtain a transformant
that is not a genetic chimeric, and ensure the inheritance of
the transgene. Regeneration strategies have now been worked-out
for most plants, and it is relatively certain that all plants
can reproduce without seed or reproductive organs.
Organogenesis can occur when a cell mass
called callus forms crude plant organs and shoot apical meristem
can emerge. However, the development of a functionally mature
plant from these regenerants is frequently morphologically challenged.
To obtain a normal reproducible plant the researcher should isolate a proper
embryo. Out of a colony of plant tissue, a perfect embryo can
be isolated which resulted from the metamorphosis of a single
cell through somatic embryogenesis. Although hormonal induction
of embryogenesis is most common, other strategies simply stress
the plant cell lines to trigger the reproductive response. Frustrating
cells lines from tissue formation or growing cultures in the
dark or along-side necrotic or dying material will also frequently
induce somatic embryogenesis.
It is likely that the post-flood world
was recolonized both from seeds which remained dormant during
the flood, and from vegetative propagation of one form or another.
Plants as individuals can become extremely well adapted to specific
conditions making them sensitive to rapid changes in conditions. Perhaps
it is for this reason that they were equipped with reproductive
mechanisms not found in any other multicellular organism. If there had
been a need to store seeds along with the animals on the ark, this
directive would have also been given to Noah. However, as we have seen
following many such catastrophes, God's creation possesses an amazing
ability to reestablish itself, and such biological recovery always begins
with the appearance of plants.
by Chris W. Ashcraft