Sunday, June 29, 2008
Bacteria make major evolutionary shift
Since evolution takes place across generations, it is usually difficult to observe it actually happening. This New Scientist article is an excellent example of speciation, although it occurs at the microscopic level. Because bacteria reproduce and die at a much faster rate than humans, scientists can observe major shifts in their genome when they occur. In this case, E Coli is distinguished from other bacteria in terms of its inability to use citrate. Biologist Richard Lenski has now shown that bacteria can evolve into a new species under observation in the laboratory. As the article states, "Lenski's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists."