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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Evolution In silico

Seriously cool (subscription):

If you want to find alien life-forms, hold off on booking that trip to the moons of Saturn. You may only need to catch a plane to East Lansing, Michigan.

The aliens of East Lansing are not made of carbon and water. They have no DNA. Billions of them are quietly colonizing a cluster of 200 computers in the basement of the Plant and Soil Sciences building at Michigan State University. To peer into their world, however, you have to walk a few blocks west on Wilson Road to the engineering department and visit the Digital Evolution Laboratory. Here you’ll find a crew of computer scientists, biologists, and even a philosopher or two gazing at computer monitors, watching the evolution of bizarre new life-forms.
Read the whole thing. It's a few pages long, but well worth the time.

(via Skeptico via INDC Journal)

If you want to check out the papers coming out of the lab with the longest running evolution study in history, search for Lenski R here. As an example (paying special attention to the last sentence of the abstract):

Long-term experimental evolution in Escherichia coli. XIII. Phylogenetic history of a balanced polymorphism.

We investigated the phylogenetic history of a balanced polymorphism that evolved in an experimental population of Escherichia coli. Previous work showed that two ecologically and morphologically distinct types, designated L (large) and S (small), arose by generation 6000 and coexisted for more than 12,000 generations thereafter. Here, we performed RFLP analyses using Insertion Sequence elements to resolve the phylogenetic history of L and S. Specifically, we sought to determine whether the derived S morph was monophyletic, indicating a long history of coexistence with L or, alternatively, S was repeatedly regenerated from L, indicating a series of periods with only transiently stable coexistence. Phylogenetic analysis of some 200 clones collected throughout the history of this population demonstrates that S is monophyletic. We then performed competition assays using clones of both morphs from different generations to determine whether either or both lineages continued to undergo genetic adaptation. Indeed, both lineages continued to adapt, and their continued evolution contributed to fluctuations in their relative abundance over evolutionary time. Based on their phylogenetic history and independent evolutionary trajectories, S and L fulfill Cohan's criteria for being different asexual species. [emphasis added]


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