Evolution and HIV

The following videos are most excellent – but, if you have not ever been exposed to the language of ‘immunology’ or the latest theories in this branch of science, you may find the following few explanations useful.  Otherwise, please, proceed to the videos themselves!

Backgrounder:

Our body is made up of cells.

The outer layer of the cell is called a cell membrane.  It is made up of a waterproof ‘double-layer’ of ‘phospholipid bilayer’ – which make it very difficult for either water or fat-based substances to make it into the cell.  (A phospholipid is a thigie that is water-soluble on one end, fat-soluble on the other.  When they form a bilayer (a two-layer), they line up in just such a way that neither water nor fat soluble stuff can enter the cell through – which is why they are so useful in forming the cell wall.)

But, in order to live, the cell needs to exchange chemicals (like food and oxygen) with the outside.  In order to do this, each cell has some proteins built into the cell wall.  These proteins form channels that permit specific chemical reactions to occur – thus permitting the cell to ‘eat’ and ‘breathe’.

These proteins are not ‘flush’ with the rest of the cell wall – they form very specific ‘bumps’ on the surface of the cell wall that are unique to each protein…and each cell has a unique pattern of these proteins.

Thus, each different type of cell has a ‘fingerprint’ pattern of protein ‘bumps’ in the cell wall – that is how the body recognizes each cell for what it is and what function it performs.

Virus cells also have a unique ‘fingerprint’ pattern of proteins in their cell walls – and it is by this ‘fingerprint’ that our immune system learns to recognize them.  It then builds specific anti-bodies that check for this specific ‘fingerprint’ on the virus wall and if they detect it, they bind to it and eventually kill it.

Viruses are notorious for changing their ‘surface proteins’ and thus their ‘fingerprints’, making it impossible for our immune systems to identify the virus cells and mark them for destruction.

But, even if you are not educated in this field, the conclusion in the second video will make sense!

 

 

An excellent video on evolution

While I suspect that most readers of this blog are well versed in basic science, this video is an excellent resource that can be used and passed on:

 

Wired: Multicellular Life Evolves in Laboratory

Well, that about wraps it up for evolution denials…

From Wired.com:

‘An evolutionary transition that took several billion years to occur in nature has happened in a laboratory, and it needed just 60 days.

Under artificial pressure to become larger, single-celled yeast became multicellular creatures. That crucial step is responsible for life’s progression beyond algae and bacteria, and while the latest work doesn’t duplicate prehistoric transitions, it could help reveal the principles guiding them.’

Check out the full article – it includes photos.

What is interesting about this is that the ‘evolutionary pressure’ applied to the yeast was nothing other than selective breeding:  the simplest, time-tested method we have been applying in agriculture for millenia.

It also demonstrates, once and for all, that selective breeding resulting from evolutionary pressures is sufficient to cause ‘macro-evolution’ because what we have seen here is undeniably the emergence of a new species from an old one:  the emergence of multicellular yeast from single-cell yeast!

For your reference, here is the citation:

“Experimental evolution of multicellularity.” By William C. Ratcliff, R. Ford Denison, Mark Borrello, and Michael Travisano. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jan. 17, 2012.

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P.S.

I wonder how many religious leaders (of all the creationist religions which also deny evolution:  i.e. Islam,  some Christian sects plus other, smaller religions) who had claimed this was impossible will step up and admit their error.  Now that their beliefs have been demonstrably falsified, they have no choice but to change their beliefs or admit that their faith is at odds with reality.