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Sunday, 17 October 2021

Malevolent Designer News - How The Flesh-Eating Bug Was Created.

Vibrio vulnificus ("the flesh-eating bug")
Pictures of the damage it does are too distressing to show!
Clues Emerge: How Harmless Bacteria Go Rogue Turning into Deadly Flesh-eating Variants | University of Central Florida News

Creationist mode:


As any intelligent [sic] design creationist will tell you, nothing evolves, so all changes in a species are the result of direct, intentional design by their putative designer, who, depending on the particular creationist cult, is either the omnibenevolent god of the Bible, or the omnibenevolent god of the Qur'an. Either way, this putative creator only wants a maximally good world for its favourite creation - humans - to live in.

From COVID to V. vulnificus the emergence of human pathogens is one of the most concerning public health issues facing us but we know surprisingly very little about what triggers the change from harmless to deadly. We want to answer that question using aquatic pathogens such as the agent of cholera or V. vulnificus as model systems. Our study is a big step in understanding this emergence phenomenon, and will hopefully help us predict, prevent and manage future outbreaks.

Our results indicate how ecosystems may be generating pressures that facilitate the emergence of specific strains with pathogenic potential within a natural population. We now have evidence that the environment plays a most critical role in shaping the emergence of this pathogen. Nonetheless, we are pathogen hunters and there is much more research to conduct. But this is a critical starting point in solving the mystery of what are the elements/ingredients that make a pathogen?

Assistant professor Salvador Almagro-Moreno, Lead author
Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences,
College of Medicine,
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
Curiously though, they also insist that the pathogens that make us sick and die are reputedly intelligently designed, making this creator god look like quite the opposite of an all-loving creator. Nevertheless, they will look at the results of this piece of research as evidence of the design ability of their god, and still insist that it can't be the result of a natural process in which no god(s) were involved.

The research in question was carried out by scientists from the University of Central Florida, led by assistant professor Salvador Almagro-Moreno, of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA. They investigated the difference between pathological and non-pathological strains of the bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus, found in the Indian River Lagoon in East Central Florida, where the organism is endemic. This bacterium can cause necrotizing fasciitis, so is also called the 'flesh-eating bug'. If ingested in oysters, for example, it can cause life-threatening septicaemia in patients with underlying health conditions such as diabetes mellitus. It is one of the fastest killing organisms with a mortality rate of over 50%.

The team investigated samples of organisms obtained from two different sites in the lagoon, one of which contains a population of potentially pathogenic V. vulnificus and the other a population of a non-pathogenic strain. They had previously identified a set of genetic markers that identify the pathogenic strain. They also examined the environmental factors that could account for the two distinct local populations - salinity, other bacterial communities in the environment, water pollutants, dissolved organic matter or the presence of algal blooms, etc.

Of course, being scientists, they were looking for environmental factors that could have driven the evolution of distinct local populations and produced pathogenic strains, but as any creationist will claim - this was all designed by their particular god, in full and omniscient knowledge of the effects it would have on its human victims.

Creationist mode:


Back in the real world now, where sadly, the team's paper, published a few days ago in PNAS is behind a paywall, but the abstract can be read here. In it, the team say:
Significance

Our study addresses one main question: What are the ecological and genetic factors that drive pathogen emergence? To date, systematic experimental approaches to address this phenomenon are very limited. Here, we implemented a holistic approach to dissect the ecological, genetic, and evolutionary drivers that foster the selection of virulence traits and pathogenic clones within an environmental population using Vibrio vulnificus, an aquatic bacterium that can cause a deadly septicemia in humans, as a model system. Our results suggest how ecosystems may generate selective pressures that facilitate the emergence of specific strains with pathogenic potential in a natural population and can be applied toward predictive frameworks to assess the risk of pathogen emergence from environmental sources.
They also say:
…metagenomic and physicochemical analyses of the sampling sites indicate that this marked cluster distribution and genetic traits are strongly associated with distinct biotic and abiotic factors (e.g., salinity, nutrients, or biodiversity), revealing how ecosystems generate selective pressures that facilitate the emergence of specific strains with pathogenic potential in a population.
Creationists might note how the scientists are in no doubt that whatever is driving the emergence of pathogenic strains, the underlying mechanism is an evolutionary one in response to environmental differences. In other words, the process is basic Darwinian evolution by natural selection with no magic or magical deities involved anywhere. This contrasts markedly to creationists' increasingly risible claim that the TOE is a theory in crisis and is being abandoned by serious biologists in favour of the Discovery Institute's (aka Deception Institute's) invention of intelligent [sic] design - a notion that has been repeatedly dismissed by US courts as religion in disguise, and all serious working biomedical scientists such as the authors of this paper.

Thank you for sharing!









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