Richard Lenski performs experiments with microbes to watch evolution in real time. In an experiment he started almost 30 years ago, he and his team have followed 12 populations of E. coli bacteria as they have evolved in the laboratory for over 65,000 generations. Their results provide insights into the process of adaptation by natural selection, the dynamics of genome evolution, and the origin of new functions. Viable samples from throughout the experiment are stored in freezers, allowing organisms that lived in different generations to be revived and compared—in effect, time travel.
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