Chitinase confusion reported in Science vol. 404, p1577, 11 June 2004. Chitinases are a group of enzymes that break down chitin – a substance found in the outer shells of insects, crustaceans and many parasites. “Because humans don’t produce chitin, their half-dozen or so chitinase genes have often been dismissed as relics of evolution,” writes Jennifer Couzin, writer for Science. Scientists studying lung tissue in asthma patients found that unusually large amounts of one type of chitinase were produced in association with the abnormal inflammatory process that prolongs asthma attacks. This discovery fits a theory that asthma could be caused by the body “sensing” parasites where none exist and sending the immune system into overdrive in an effort to get rid of non-existent parasites. Abnormal levels of another type of chitinase have been in a rare enzyme disorder celled Gaucher disease, so scientist are planning more studies on the function of chitinases to find out what they really do in the human body.
Editorial Comment: This is a good example of how evolutionary theory is not a good basis for scientific research. As long as scientists continue to look at human genes from an evolutionary point of view they will keep making the same mistake of writing off anything they don’t understand as a useless leftover, and therefore, not studying it properly. Creation is a much better basis for science, because it starts with the premises that humans and all living creatures have genes for a reason. Therefore, if we don’t know what they do, we should do some more research and find out. (Ref. chitinase, disease, science)