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Predictable Evolution? --Identical Mutations in Separate Populations Over 1,000 Generations

Predictable Evolution? --Identical Mutations in Separate Populations Over 1,000 Generations | Science H | Scoop.it

Understanding how and why diversification occurs is important for understanding why there are so many species on Earth. In a new study, researchers show that similar—or even identical—mutations can occur during diversification in completely separate populations of E. coli evolving in different environments over more than 1000 generations. Evolution, therefore, can be surprisingly predictable.

 

The experiment, conducted by Matthew Herron, research assistant professor at the University of Montana, and Professor Michael Doebeli of the University of British Columbia, involved 3 different populations of bacteria. At the start of the experiment, each population consisted of generalists competing for two different sources of dietary carbon (glucose and acetate), but after 1200 generations they had evolved into two coexisting types each with a specialized physiology adapted to one of the carbon sources. Herron and Doebeli were able to sequence the genomes of populations of bacteria frozen at 16 different points during their evolution, and discovered a surprising amount of similarity in their evolution. 

"In all three populations it seems to be more or less the same core set of genes that are causing the two phenotypes that we see," Herron said. "In a few cases, it's even the exact same genetic change." Recent advances in sequencing technology allowed Herron and Doebeli to sequence large numbers of whole bacterial genomes and provide evidence that there is predictability in evolutionary diversity. Any evolutionary process is some combination of predictable and unpredictable processes with random mutations, but seeing the same genetic changes in different populations showed that selection can be deterministic.

 

"There are about 4.5 million nucleotides in the E. coli genome," he said. "Finding in four cases that the exact same change had happened independently in different populations was intriguing." Herron and Doebeli argue that a particular form of selection—negative frequency dependence—plays an important role in driving diversification. When bacteria are either glucose specialists or acetate specialists, a higher density of one type will mean fewer resources for that type, so bacteria specializing on the alternative resource will be at an advantage.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The catfish that strands itself to kill pigeons

The catfish that strands itself to kill pigeons | Science H | Scoop.it

In Southwestern France, a group of fish have learned how to kill birds. As the River Tarn winds through the city of Albi, it contains a small gravel island where pigeons gather to clean and bathe. And patrolling the island are European catfish—1 to 1.5 metres long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent. These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey. In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds.

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Why can't you tickle yourself?

Why can't you tickle yourself? | Science H | Scoop.it
Tickling yourself is a lot harder than it seems. Have you ever wondered why you cannot tickle yourself? Find out why self-tickling seems impossible.
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Synthetic biology and the rise of the 'spider-goats'

Synthetic biology and the rise of the 'spider-goats' | Science H | Scoop.it
Horizon presenter Adam Rutherford looks at the advances in synthetic biology and genetic engineering that have resulted in, among other things, computer-made life forms and cancer assassin cells...
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Scientists find gene link to teenage binge drinking

Scientists find gene link to teenage binge drinking | Science H | Scoop.it
Scientists have unpicked the brain processes involved in teenage alcohol abuse and say their findings help explain why some young people have more of a tendency to binge drink.A study...
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Sixty-day bread could cut waste

Sixty-day bread could cut waste | Science H | Scoop.it
An American company has developed a technique that it says can make bread stay mould-free for 60 days.

 

The bread is zapped in a sophisticated microwave array which kills the spores that cause the problem.

The company claims it could significantly reduce the amount of wasted bread - in the UK alone, almost a third of loaves purchased.

The technique can also be used with a wide range of foods including fresh turkey and many fruits and vegetables.

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How did zebras get their stripes?

How did zebras get their stripes? | Science H | Scoop.it
In our world where so much is manufactured – or created by film magic – it’s hard to remember how astonishing nature has been in the creation of so many of her creatures. The exquisite stripes on zebras, for example, must have seemed miraculous to the first Europeans who saw them. Now some European scientists have presented a mundane explanation for this miracle of nature, saying that zebras’ stripes exist to stave off blood-sucking horseflies. This explanation, as it turns out, is one of many possibilities.
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E. coli caught in the act of evolving | Genes & Cells | Science News

E. coli caught in the act of evolving | Genes & Cells | Science News | Science H | Scoop.it

Big leaps in evolution are the products of tiny genetic changes accumulated over thousands of generations, a new study shows.

 

E. coli bacteria growing in a flask in a lab for nearly 25 years have learned to do something no E. coli has done since the Miocene epoch: eat a chemical called citrate in the presence of oxygen.

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Fighting fish 'take a breather'

Fighting fish 'take a breather' | Science H | Scoop.it
Siamese fighting fish take gulps of air from above water so they can continue to clash, say scientists.
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Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase | Wired Science | Wired.com

Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase | Wired Science | Wired.com | Science H | Scoop.it
If you could escape the human time scale for a moment, and regard evolution from the perspective of deep time, in which the last 10,000 years are a short chapter in a long story, you'd say: Things are pretty wild right now.
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Five hard truths for synthetic biology : Nature News

Five hard truths for synthetic biology : Nature News | Science H | Scoop.it

Can engineering approaches tame the complexity of living systems? Roberta Kwok explores five challenges for the field and how they might be resolved.

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New 'magnetic yeast' marks step toward harnessing Nature's magnetic capabilities

New 'magnetic yeast' marks step toward harnessing Nature's magnetic capabilities | Science H | Scoop.it

Researchers have developed a method for inducing magnetic sensitivity in an organism that is not naturally magnetic yeast.

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New synthetic biology technique boosts microbial production of diesel fuel

New synthetic biology technique boosts microbial production of diesel fuel | Science H | Scoop.it
(PhysOrg.com) -- Significant boosts in the microbial production of clean, green and renewable biodiesel fuel has been achieved with the development of a new technique in synthetic biology by researchers with the U.S.
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City birds use cigarette butts to smoke out parasites

City birds use cigarette butts to smoke out parasites | Science H | Scoop.it
Lining nests with material from discarded cigarettes may help keep out parasitic mites.

 

Stuffing cigarette butts into the lining of nests may seem unwholesome. But a team of ecologists says that far from being unnatural, the use of smoked cigarettes by city birds may be an urban variation of an ancient adaptation.

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New, Faster Way To Make Vaccines – Use Messenger RNA

New, Faster Way To Make Vaccines – Use Messenger RNA | Science H | Scoop.it
Researchers in Germany have found a new way to make a flu vaccine. Their approach, shown to protect mice against the virus, utilizes messenger RNA instead of purified protein to generate the immune response.
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Earth’s toughest life could survive on Mars | The Planetary Society

Earth’s toughest life could survive on Mars | The Planetary Society | Science H | Scoop.it
The surface of Mars is a tough place to survive, but researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) found some lichens and cyanobacteria tough enough to handle those conditions.
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Human blood types have deep evolutionary roots | Molecules | Science News

Human blood types have deep evolutionary roots | Molecules | Science News | Science H | Scoop.it

ABO system may date back 20 million years or more.

 

Chimps, gibbons and other primates are not just humans’ evolutionary cousins; a new analysis suggests they are also our blood brothers. The A, B and O blood types in people evolved at least 20 million years ago in a common ancestor of humans and other primates, new research suggests.

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DNA imaged with electron microscope for the first time - physics-math - 28 November 2012 - New Scientist

DNA imaged with electron microscope for the first time - physics-math - 28 November 2012 - New Scientist | Science H | Scoop.it

It's the most famous corkscrew in history. Now an electron microscope has captured the famous Watson-Crick double helix in all its glory, by imaging threads of DNA resting on a silicon bed of nails. The technique will let researchers see how proteins, RNA and other biomolecules interact with DNA.

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Synthetic Biology - “When the software builds its own hardware!”

Synthetic Biology - “When the software builds its own hardware!” | Science H | Scoop.it

An inspirational talk by the Craig Venter, the founding father of “Synthetic Biology”. After revolutionizing Genomics, he and his team were the first to prove the feasability of genome transplantation in prokaryotes. From my point of view, one of the top-ranking achievements ever made in Biology.

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'Bigfoot' Is Part Human, DNA Study Claims

'Bigfoot' Is Part Human, DNA Study Claims | Science H | Scoop.it

Genetic testing confirms the legendary Bigfoot is a human relative that arose some 15,000 years ago — at least according to a press release issued by a company called DNA Diagnostics detailing supposed work by a Texas veterinarian.

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Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? | Science H | Scoop.it
The little creature of the sea that appears to debunk the most fundamental law of the natural world: you are born, and then you die.
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Antarctic bacteria a clue to different kinds of life: study

A study by polar researchers has revealed an ancient community of bacteria able to thrive in the lightless, oxygen-depleted, salty environment beneath nearly 70 feet of ice in an Antarctic...
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Synthetic biology: 'playing God' is vital if we are to create a better future for all

Synthetic biology: 'playing God' is vital if we are to create a better future for all | Science H | Scoop.it
Adam Rutherford: The present gains and future benefits of synthetic biology are too great for it to be written off with fear-mongering maxims...
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