The idea that directed design managed the evolutionary process was never a bad one. What was a bad idea was to go looking outside the cell itself for the decision making process. This is slowly clarifying the process and ending the debate.
I came to the conclusion that some form of decision making process was involved in the evolutionary process a long time ago. The support for it was always in your face, and the survival of the fittest concept really fails to hold up well and is obviously far too wasteful. It made sense that such a process be internal to the organism and as our appreciation of biological complexity has improved, the biological markers and answers are now showing up.
The only negative was the misplaced enthusiasm of the intelligent design crowd who fail to realize that any solution short of divine intervention was counter productive to their cause.
Study finds new way for disease to evolve
by Staff Writers
Hamilton, Ontario (UPI) Feb 17, 2009
A Canadian-led study has discovered a new mode of disease evolution, giving scientists another way to identify and assign risk to emerging diseases.
Scientists at McMaster University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Illinois found bacteria can develop into illness-causing pathogens by rewiring regulatory DNA, the genetic material that controls disease-causing genes in a body. Previously, disease evolution was thought to occur mainly through the addition or deletion of genes.
"Bacterial cells contain about 5,000 different genes, but only a fraction of them are used at any given time," said McMaster University Assistant Professor Brian Coombes, who led the research. "The difference between being able to cause disease, or not cause disease, lies in where, when and what genes in this collection are turned on. We've discovered how bacteria evolve to turn on just the right combination of genes in order to cause disease in a host."
With infectious diseases on the rise, the finding has implications on how new pathogens are identified in the environment, he said.
"This opens up significant new challenges for us as we move forward with this idea of assigning risk to new pathogens," Coombes said. "Because now, we know it's not just gene content -- it is gene content plus regulation of those genes."