Nautilus

Can Life Ever Be Perfectly Adapted to Its Environment?

Can an organism ever become perfectly evolved? In Richard Lenski’s lab at Michigan State University, scientists are trying to see if that’s possible. The idea grew out of the lab’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment, started in 1988, with Escherichia coli; in 2010, they celebrated 50,000 generations (500 occur every 75 days). The lab has 12 populations of the bacteria inhabiting their own climate-controlled flasks of swirling nutrient solution, each like a finch-less Galapagos—an experiment in evolution by natural selection, but one that has been stripped to its bare essentials. 

For the past 28 years, there has been essentially no change in the bacteria’s environment, and the only competition they face is

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da Nautilus

Nautilus4 min lettiPsychology
Let’s Aim for Physical Rather Than Social Distancing
Amid all the calls in nearly every country for social distancing, the most powerful tool we have to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, one important fact gets lost: We are fundamentally social beings, and social distancing can carry a heavy ps
Nautilus5 min letti
A Warning from History About Simultaneous Disasters
Parts of the world might have shut down, but nature never does. Even while people stay at home and learn about physical distancing, weather, tectonic shifts, meteorites, and solar storms do not pause. With many international borders closed and an inc
Nautilus7 min lettiSociety
How Genetic Mutations Turned the Coronavirus Deadly: Tracing the path of a pandemic.
Long before the first reports of a new flu-like illness in China’s Hubei province, a bat—or perhaps a whole colony of them—was flying around the region carrying a new type of coronavirus. At the time, the virus was not yet dangerous to humans. Then,