Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Statement of Belief or Evidence for it?

An article from Biocompare entitled 'Evolution Reveals An Independent Route For Diversity In Animal Form' reveals an interesting discovery and some can't miss promotion strategy on behalf of evolution. A part of the article appears in italics along with some comments.

"Researchers have found that Cnidaria, a group of marine animals noted for diverse morphology among its constituent species, actually lacks the ancient "Hox" gene system that is essential for the development of most other animals. The finding is surprising because the Hox system is largely responsible for so-called axial patterning, the developmental process that directs the formation of different morphological features along the anterior-posterior axis--the axis along which the head, trunk, and tail are arranged. The work indicates that despite the importance of the Hox system in the development of most animals, the evolution of a typical Hox system is not in fact a prerequisite for axial patterning during development or for the generation of diverse animal morphology.

The findings are reported in the May 9th issue of Current Biology by scientists Bernd Schierwater, Kai Kamm, and Wolfgang Jakob of Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, in Germany, Stephen Dellaporta of Yale University, and David Miller of James Cook University in Australia.

A remarkable feature of Hox-system genes is that they are typically clustered in groups along chromosomes, with their order along the chromosome reflecting their actual pattern of expression along the anterior-posterior axis of a developing animal. The Hox system has long been considered a defining characteristic of animals, and much of the variation seen in animal morphology has been attributed to evolutionary variations on how the Hox system is implemented during development in different species."

The hox system, in all its variations, is considered to be the result of an evolutionary process. It is believed to have evolved and then been passed down from generation to succeeding generation. Note the title again. Who revealed the independent route? None other than evolution. Variations, or even entirely different biological systems, are always credited to evolution even when the writer or researchers have no clue as to how variation occured. Constant exposure to these types of articles can lead an unwary reader into thinking evidence for evolutionary claims is stronger than it actually is. Actually these kinds statements are more declarations of belief than demonstrations of scientifically supported assertions.


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