Evolution and DNA

I was at my local shopping mall last night, and happened upon a store selling BONSAI trees-you know, those miniature spruce, pine, maple trees with miniature features. My question-these trees are produced as the result of YEARs of external trimming, deforming, etc., by human hands. Is this an example of evolution (or Lamarkian adaption)-how does the tree’s DNA know to make the tree smaller? Is the tree “evolving” in response to the external stimuli? How does the DNA “know” this?

DNA has nothing to do with the tree staying small.

From http://www.bonsai-bci.com/whatis.html

It goes on to say that many varieties of plants can make good bonsai. They just have to be woody-stemmed plants.

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

This is not evolution. If you physically modify an organism you don’t change its DNA. Progeny of the modified plant would be normal.
This not the same as selecting the smallest of each generation to produce dwarf versions.
Dwarfism can be inherited, not Bonsai

Virtually yours,


IIRC, trees will naturally grow in miniature in extremely harsh conditions such as the absolute limit of the treeline up on a mountain. I believe Bonsai is pretty much just duplicating the conditions for limited growth artificially.

When Walt was building Disneyland, he needed miniature trees for some of the attractions. One of his landscapers was hiking through the Sierras looking for specimens and came across some naturally-dwarf Ponderosa pines. These trees had taken root in shallow soil and their growth was therefore stunted. Carefully transplanted, the trees still grow today as part of the “Storyland Canal Boats” and the “Casey Jr. Circus Train” rides in Fantasyland. They grow approximately one inch a year and are easier to care for than bonsai trees, which is what Walt had considered using.

How does this apply to the OP? Those dwarf Ponderosa pines would grow to normal height if planted in deeper soil and so would their offspring. Dwarfness caused by shallow soil is not inheritable.

Fighting my own ignorance since 1957.