I’m not a Biologist, but I’m still thrilled to hear that Richard Lenski has a new paper in Nature that talks about his 21-year-long (and still going!) experiment.
Lenski, Hannah Professor of Microbial Ecology at MSU, started growing cultures of fast-reproducing, single-celled E. coli bacteria in 1988. If a genetic mutation gives a cell an advantage in competition for food, he reasoned, it should dominate the entire culture. While Darwin’s theory of natural selection is supported by other studies, it has never before been studied for so many cycles and in such detail.
“It’s extra nice now to be able to show precisely how selection has changed the genomes of these bacteria, step by step over tens of thousands of generations,” Lenski said.
I’m about halfway through Richard Dawkins‘ The Greatest Show on Earth, and the section in which he highlights Lenski’s experiment in detail is absolutely riveting.
It’s page after page of predictions coming true and undeniable proof that evolution does happen just as Darwin predicted it would. It’s a Creationist’s worst nightmare.
Which makes it an anti-banana.
If anyone can send me a PDF of the paper, by the way, I’d love to read it.
***Update***: Paper received. Thanks, everyone!
(Thanks to Jeffrey for the link!)