Does the theory of evolution require a gain of copious quantities of genetic information?
Yes it does. Both in Darwin's formulation and in the modern neo-Darwinian version, although Darwin of course knew nothing of genes or DNA.
Both versions believe that the all life on Earth is ascended from primitive ancestors. Darwin lacked the evidence to definitely say only one ancestor but he made it clear that it was his “belief that all animals and plants are descended from some one prototype.” Most proponents of the modern version, on the evidence of DNA, definitely conclude there was a Last Universal Common Ancestor.
In both versions this common ancestor is envisaged as some simple life form of minimal complexity.
In the modern version with a genetic basis this is supposed to be a single celled organism with a minimal functioning genome, perhaps only a few hundred genes. Some believe this ancestor arose naturally on Earth from non-living matter, some propose panspermia, and some believe it was created by God.
However this original life form did not contain or produce more than a fraction of the genes and proteins life today. Nor did it have multi-cellularity, specialised tissues, organs, and appendages. All of these are supposed to have been produced by evolution over billions of years. “[F]rom so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”
Now I say that to produce all these new attributes would require a vast increase in genetic information. Not only to produce all the new proteins but also to regulate them and to produce the multitude of body plans we see today.
Some object to calling this “genetic information”, saying such a term is meaningless until it can be measured and quantified. Even “Shannon Information” could not be measured and quantified until Claude Shannon published “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” in 1948. This did not mean such information did not exist before then. Just so, even if it can't currently be quantified no reasonable person doubts that this genetic information exists. As I have shown in previous posts progress is being made in measuring and quantifying functional information; but the information already exists or it could not measured.
Conclusion: The Theory of Evolution;
• Has a direction. It is attempting to explain microbes to man, not the reverse
• Requires the development of multicellularity, specialised tissues, organs, and complex body plans
• This development requires the production of new genes and genetic information; in copious quantities