Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Malevolent Designer News - How Creationism's Divine Malevolence Made a Parasite Better at Killing Children

The Kissing bug, Triatom infestans,
The main vector for Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease.
Hybrid strains make insidious parasite more dangerous | Karolinska Institutet Nyheter

Creationist mode:

If you’re a divine malevolence and have gone to all the trouble to design a blood-born parasite like the trypanosome, Trypanosoma cruzi, especially for making people sick and die, and have even created a special means of passing it from one person to another to make sure as many people suffer as possible, such as the 'kissing bug', Triatom infestans, you're not going to just stand by and allow a potential victim's immune system (that you designed to protect them from your parasites), stop the trypanosome from doing its job and making them sick, are you?

Of course not!

Trypanosoma cruzi, the organism that causes Chagas disease

Credit: CDC/Dr. Myron G. Schultz
As we have seen before, most of these nasty little organisms that creationists believe were created by their favourite god, have been designed to evade or even suppress their host's immune system so they can make life as miserable, or as short, as possible.

A good example of this, and an example of the inventive genius of anything that designed it, is in fact Trypanosoma cruzi, the microorganism that causes Chagas disease, which affects millions of people in Central and South America, causing thousands of deaths every year. Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have discovered just how brilliantly this parasite has been designed so it can continue to do what it was designed to do. They have shown that it can form new variants from hybrids of different strains that are often better at circumventing the immune system and causing disease.

As the Karolinska Institutet news item announcing the team's publication of their findings in the online journal, eLife, explains:

This knowledge is important since the exchange of genetic material can lead to new gene variants that make the parasite more dangerous. A better understanding of how this process works can help us develop new methods for diagnosing, preventing and treating Chagas disease, which is a huge problem in Central and South America.

We’ll now be studying material from nature and from patients to map in greater detail how the parasite goes about varying its genes. We’re also working on improving the diagnosis of Chagas disease in Bolivia.

Professor Björn Andersson, principal investigator
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. “
Trypanosoma cruzi infection is chronic and can lead to Chagas disease, which causes severe symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract and heart. The parasite has many genes that can vary extensively, which enables it to evade the immune system. How it does this, however, is still largely unknown.

A scientific collaboration involving researchers at Karolinska Institutet has now shown that Trypanosoma cruzi can form new variants that are combinations of different strains. These hybrids are often better at circumventing the immune system and causing disease. By mapping the genome of the parental strains and their offspring over time, the researchers have a detailed picture of how these hybrids are formed. Their results show that the hybrids initially contain all DNA from both parentals, but that the amount of DNA is then gradually decreased until it ends up at the right level. The researchers also found that there is frequent reshuffling of genetic material in a process known as genetic recombination.


The study is based on parasite strains that spontaneously formed hybrids in the laboratory. The researchers isolated DNA from both the parental parasites and many of their offspring and mapped the entire genome using large-scale DNA sequencing.

The study was a collaboration between Karolinska Institutet, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK.

Creationist mode:

The real science of course, shows how this was a feature of this organism's reproduction, evolved under the strong selection pressure of a predictable arms race, between the parasite and its host, just as can be seen in all other parasite-host or predator-prey co-evolutionary relationships. The teams findings are published, open access in eLife:

Protozoa and fungi are known to have extraordinarily diverse mechanisms of genetic exchange. However, the presence and epidemiological relevance of genetic exchange in Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease, has been controversial and debated for many years. Field studies have identified both predominantly clonal and sexually recombining natural populations. Two of six natural T. cruzi lineages (TcV and TcVI) show hybrid mosaicism, using analysis of single-gene locus markers. The formation of hybrid strains in vitro has been achieved and this provides a framework to study the mechanisms and adaptive significance of genetic exchange. Using whole genome sequencing of a set of experimental hybrids strains, we have confirmed that hybrid formation initially results in tetraploid parasites. The hybrid progeny showed novel mutations that were not attributable to either (diploid) parent showing an increase in amino acid changes. In long-term culture, up to 800 generations, there was a variable but gradual erosion of progeny genomes towards triploidy, yet retention of elevated copy number was observed at several core housekeeping loci. Our findings indicate hybrid formation by fusion of diploid T. cruzi, followed by sporadic genome erosion, but with substantial potential for adaptive evolution, as has been described as a genetic feature of other organisms, such as some fungi.

Seen from a perspective where organisms such as this are believed to be intelligently [sic] designed by an omniscient designer to make people sick and increase suffering in the world, it is impossible for a reasonable person not to see such a designer as having malevolent intent, and yet the creationist industry appears to prefer to promulgate this view of the god they purport to worship rather than have people accept that they are the product of a perfectly understandable natural process with no intelligence or morality, or gods are involved.

Perhaps they feel this view of their god is consistent with the paranoid, theophobic view that says it will condemn you to an eternity of agony if you use the freewill it allegedly gave you and don't worship it or obey the dictates of its priesthood.

Thank you for sharing!

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