Chapter 12 : Microbes and Microevolution

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Opponents of evolution cannot deny the obvious successes of human-driven selection of domesticated animals and generally admit the processes of microevolution in nature. The chapter shows that minor genetic changes can lead to a dramatic shift from the original natural environment (habitat) of the species to completely new ones. In turn, these shifts in habitats could lead to physical separation of the organisms from the same species and their eventual macroevolution into different species. Baas-Becking hypothesis is related to the important similarity between humans and bacteria; humans adapt to different environments not by changing genetically but by inventing various tools that allow us to successfully survive and increase in numbers in new environments. To discuss the basis and significance of natural mutations within bacterial species, it is actually useful to make parallels not with domesticated animals but with ourselves, humans. As much as adaptive mutations seem to be important for microevolution, very few such natural changes are found within species of higher organisms. Studying microevolution of bacterial species can bring light to the elusive processes of microevolution in higher species. An understanding of the microevolution mechanisms and dynamics will bring us closer to grasping how new species and complex physiological systems have gradually evolved.

Citation: Sokurenko E. 2012. Microbes and Microevolution, p 85-91. In Kolter R, Maloy S (ed), Microbes and Evolution. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818470.ch12
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