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Chapter 1 : Evolution in Action

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Evolution in Action, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Bacteria had to wait in the wings for many years before they could star in evolution experiments. The new molecular biologists pursued their reductionist methods, while evolutionary biologists, grounded in natural history, did not want to study things they couldn’t even see. It was also difficult to tell bacterial strains and species apart, and many evolutionary biologists were focused on using patterns of similarities and differences to unravel the relationships among organisms. But eventually the field of microbial evolution awakened, and for several reasons. In the 1970s, Carl Woese used differences in DNA sequences to study the evolutionary relationships among bacteria and other microbes, revealing extraordinary diversity beneath their outwardly simple appearances. At the same time, other evolution experiments were pursued with . Avidians are computer programs that copy their own genomes, and they live in a virtual world that exists inside a computer. But their replication is imperfect, so Avidians sometimes mutate. While most mutations are deleterious, some provide an advantage that allows a mutant to obtain resources and replicate faster than its competitors in that virtual world.

Citation: Lenski R. 2012. Evolution in Action, p 9-16. In Kolter R, Maloy S (ed), Microbes and Evolution. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818470.ch1
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