by Brian Thomas, M.S.

Viruses were originally created for a good purpose, but some cause disease in today’s fallen world.1 Good or bad, viruses are well-designed molecular machines.2 And like all machines, they need certain traits to fulfill their functions.

One newly discovered genetic manipulation program helps the poxvirus rapidly invade various kinds of cells. How would such a program arise?

Different poxviruses causes chickenpox and cowpox. Most viruses are species-specific, but these infect different creatures by adjusting their virus-cell interface faster than the creature’s defenses can adjust to detect and counteract the viruses.

Many interpret the poxvirus’ adjusting process through Darwinian natural selection, where the host body cells somehow select those viruses that succeed in multiplying and leave the unsuccessful viruses to die. But is this really what happens? What if the body cells are not selectors, either literally or figuratively?

If it is not the environment, then what else could actually be selecting virus trait variations? Newly described poxvirus genetic mechanisms clearly show that the poxvirus evolutionarygenerates genetic options to provide a variation that can pick the figurative locks that open the doors to different creature’s body cells. Researchers described in the journal Cell just such a mechanism in poxvirus—calling it a “gene accordion.”3

A preview article in the journal Cell described it as “a powerful selective device that is likely to be a broadly applicable evolutionary mechanism.” Of course, that statement becomes more biologically clear simply by removing the word “evolution.”4….

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