Wednesday, May 03, 2006

An evolutionary explanation

Carl Zimmer has an excellent discussion at The Loom about a clear example of a practical application of evolution and how evolution helps us to understand a particular puzzling health effect. The puzzling health effect was the disasterous outcome of a clinical trial for a medicine hoped to be useful in treatment of arthritis and leukemia, diseases that involve the body's immune system attacking itself--but the drug caused severe reactions in the volunteeers.

Zimmer discusses the drug, its intended target, and biomolecular factors that affect the interaction that the drug was supposed to mimic. The drug had been tested on mice and chimpanzees, but evolutionary changes since the human ancestor parted company with chimps seem to have disrupted the mechanisms of interaction. Relevant information about the molecules and their interactions was investigated and will be available in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their work provides an explanation for what "went wrong" with the clinical trial and how such outcomes can be avoided, on an evolutionary basis.

How, one may wonder, could Intelligent Design have contributed to solving this puzzle?


Anonymous Jeff said...

Sorry to comment here, but at Panda's Thumb ye were askin' about the *gag* "mountain of foreskins."

Heathen! The passage is: Joshua 5:2-4. N.B.: Some of the current mistranslations whitewash the translation by transliterating the Hebrew. Did that make sense?

10:43 AM  

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