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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus12 min read
The Dreams of the Man Who Discovered Neurons: Santiago Ramón y Cajal recorded his dreams to prove Freud wrong.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a Spanish histologist and anatomist known today as the father of modern neuroscience, was also a committed psychologist who believed psychoanalysis and Freudian dream theory were “collective lies.” When Freud published The Int
Nautilus3 min read
Nautilus To Be Acquired By Ownership Group Of Super-Fans
From the newswire: Award-winning magazine and fast-growing science brand poised for growth An investor group of super-fans has banded together as a single ownership group to acquire Nautilus, the literary science magazine with more than 10 thousand m
Nautilus6 min readScience
As Winters Shrink, Our Discontent Grows: Our sense of order is disappearing with the snow packs.
Winter is changing its character. Since the beginning of the 21st century, glaciers have been melting at record speed. In Central Asia, they’ve lost approximately one quarter of their volume over the past 50 years. An ice grotto in Switzerland that i