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This is a review of an article that appeared a while ago in Science magazine, and which tracks the evolution and migrations of the felidae family. ( that's cats and their ilk.),69986-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_4

Lots of interesting research is being done with cats. People who don't believe in macro-evolution will no doubt reject all of it but I thought this paragraph was worth quoting :

Most recently, O'Brien tackled the cat genome -- it's been decoded, with more precise analysis to come. And last week, he and colleagues made international headlines with their report about how the Felidae family managed to develop 37 species over a fairly short amount of evolutionary time.

"You start with a certain basic program, like a Henry Ford (prototype) of a car, 10 million years ago. And through natural selection and adaptation, you end up with these specialists," O'Brien said.

At 61, O'Brien could retire to his Maryland farm and watch his half-dozen cats patrol the property. But he plans to stay on the job indefinitely, hoping to unravel feline mysteries -- such as the immunity of lions and cheetahs to the feline equivalent of AIDS -- to help cure human diseases.

He also wants to better understand how some of today's diseases may have actually provided protection in the past: Tay-Sachs might have kept Jews from getting tuberculosis, and cystic fibrosis could have fought off cholera. Similar dynamics might explain the development of some cat diseases.

"Medicine and understanding comes in strange packages and often from unanticipated places," O'Brien said. "We can learn an enormous amount from animals and their encounters, adaptations and genomic secrets."

So what if this type of research leads to positive results with respect to curing diseases in humans. (I believe genetic research on rodents has in fact already provided information relevant to fighting human diseases, but my memory is vague and I would have to look up the specifics.) Wouldn't such results be a formidable confirmation of the theory of evolution ? Would it be able to sway creationists ? Somehow I don't think so. Would this sort of research even be possible if creationism were to become the main tenet in biology ?

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