The design inference is obvious but often implicit, because explicit acknowledgement of design in biology carries with it substantial career risk.
Coming from the National Center for Science Education or the New York Times, this is typical.
In effect, protein engineers are using the power of random change plus intelligent design to see what if anything will improve function.
There is one point of confusion in descriptions of this year’s prize winners. It’s the talk of “directed evolution.”
The problem these efforts face in the lab is exactly the problem faced by Darwin’s evolutionary mechanism in the wild.