Monday, November 19, 2007

Antibiotic Resistance

Today, on a forum I am a part of, our Mailboy posted the following:


"Mutation and natural selection, thought to be the driving forces of evolution, only lead to a loss of functional systems. Therefore, antibiotic resistance of bacteria is not an example of evolution in action but rather variation within a bacterial kind. It is also a testimony to the wonderful design God gave bacteria, master adapters and survivors in a sin-cursed world."

Here was my response:

"Michael Behe makes a similar argument in The Edge of Evolution, saying that random mutation often "breaks genes" and just leads to 'quick fixes'.

This is sometimes true, for instance, all of us have "broken" Vitamin C genes. But there are examples of evolution increasing function:

Abbie Smith points out the new HIV gene, called VPU, which Behe finally concedes is new.

The Nylon Bug: A bacteria gained the ability to digest nylon via an insertion mutation (adds DNA to the genome)

The Evolution of An Antifreeze Protein in an Anarctic Fish.

A Double Insertion Mutation gave a Strain of E. Coli the Ability to Utilize Salicin.

Then there's the case of the Origin of Vision:

"'Our paper shows that such claims are simply wrong (speaking about the claim that evolution cannot add new information),' said co-author Todd Oakley, also a UC Santa Barbara biologist. 'We show very clearly that specific mutational changes in a particular duplicated gene (opsin) allowed the new genes to interact with different proteins in new ways. Today, these different interactions underlie the genetic machinery of vision, which is different in various animal groups.'"

I should also add these:

Novel Genes in the Fruit Fly known as Drosophila

Gene Co-Option in Pipefish

Evolution of a New Enzymatic Function in E. Coli

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