Devil DNA revealed, as reported in New Scientist and BBC News 17 February 2012, and Cell vol. 148, pp780-791 17 February DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.11.065. Tasmanian Devils (carnivorous marsupials found only on the Australian Island of Tasmania) are being wiped out by a facial cancer transmitted from one animal to another when they bite each another during mating and fighting. An international team of researchers has analysed the DNA of 104 tumours from 69 animals and have worked out the tumour originated in a female animal over 15 years ago. They compared the cancer genome with the normal Tasmanian Devil genome and found 17,000 mutations. Researchers suspect some of the mutations involve immunity genes, which could explain how the tumour can be passed to other individuals. It is very rare for tumours to spread from one individual to another as immune systems normally recognise cancer cells as being foreign. The researchers also state that their study “reveals the pattern of evolution” and spread of the tumour with “evidence of a selective sweep in one geographical area and persistence of parallel lineages in other populations.”
Editorial Comment: So, number one: these mutations cause disease. The mutations that have occurred in this tumour have turned what was once useful tissue into a source of misery and death. Number two: The process that spreads it is the result of Devilish violent behaviour. Number three: The “selective sweep in one geographical area” simply means that one variation of the tumour was able to survive long enough to spread further and cause more disease.
Altogether, the changes found in the facial tumour cells remind us that we are not looking at evolution here – we are looking at what mutations do best: the destruction of life. Mutation and natural selection are real processes, but they are part of the overall degeneration or devolution of the world brought about following man’s rebellion against his Creator. We can confidently say this disease would not have occurred in the original good world that God made. Even if only for the fact that ‘In the beginning’ all animals ate plants, so there was no struggle for existence, and no fighting for food or mates.
The fossil record shows the Devils were once much larger and more robust, and lived all over Australia. Now they are confined to one island, and as a result are severely inbred, which has decreased their size, and increased their mutational load which has undoubtedly increased their susceptibility to disease in general. (Ref. marsupials, carnivores, carcinogenesis)
Evidence News 29 February 2012