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Old 09-05-2014, 11:47 AM   #1
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Default Convergent evolution...coffee,tea,cocao...etc.

In that morning wake up cup of coffee or at afternoon tea, many peoples have used caffeine for the lift it provides to their energy levels. Interesting story of how it came about and finding out why so many plants evolved this chemical strategy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/science/how-caffeine-evolved-to-help-plants-survive-and-help-people-wake-up.html?_r=0

Quote:
Scientists had already determined that caffeine was also made in other plants, like tea and cacao, by N-methyltransferases. But by sequencing the coffee genome, Dr. Albert and his colleagues were able to make a more detailed comparison of the genes in different species. They discovered that in cacao, the enzymes manufacturing caffeine did not evolve from the same ancestors as those in coffee.

In other words, the coffee plant and cacao plant took different evolutionary paths to reach the same destination. Evolutionary biologists call this sort of process convergent evolution.

Birds, for example, evolved wings when their finger bones fused together and sprouted feathers more than 150 million years ago. Bats, on the other hand, evolved wings about 60 million years ago when their fingers stretched out and became covered in membranes.

When convergent evolution produces the same complex trait more than once, it’s usually a sign of a powerfully useful adaptation. Experiments with coffee plants offer some clues as to why evolution would reinvent caffeine so often.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/science/how-caffeine-evolved-to-help-plants-survive-and-help-people-wake-up.html?_r=0
Quote:
Plants make nectar to feed insects and other animals so they’ll spread their pollen. When insects feed on caffeine-spiked nectar, they get a beneficial buzz: they become much more likely to remember the scent of the flower.

It may be a coincidence of biology that caffeine-producing plants have a similar effect on us—toxic at high doses but enhancing our brains at low doses. “They’re manipulating all of us,” Dr. Mustard said.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:52 PM   #2
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I am well trained by that caffeine buzz to pay high prices for coffee, tea and cocoa which induces others to grow and produce fine beverages. Coincidence it may be but what more proof is needed to support the supposition that humanity is indeed of nature.
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Old 09-05-2014, 02:24 PM   #3
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Another look.

Coffee's Caffeine Buzz Evolved Separately from Tea's - Scientific American
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