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Bacteria Make Major Evolutionary Shift In the Lab

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the forty-four-thousand-generations dept.

Biotech 1185

Auxbuss sends us to New Scientist for news sure to perplex and confound creationists: scientists have watched a new, complex evolutionary trait develop in the lab. "A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes. It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait. And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events."

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First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733575)

Ha! I out-evolved all of you.

Re:First! (5, Funny)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733619)

Turds often float to the surface even in the genetic pool.

Re:First! (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733671)

And getting first post on Slashdot improves your chances to reproduce how, exactly? No offense, but I think you may be an evolutionary dead end.

Re:First! (5, Informative)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733999)

For those of you who didn't RTFA, the new evolution which they claim occurred was the ability to metabolize citrate, a substance in the culture medium that e. coli were previously known to be unable to metabolize, and this occurred in one of twelve populations that were spawned from a single parent bacterium. I think it's pretty interesting :)

Re:First! (0, Offtopic)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734025)

And this was meant to be a parent thread.. not a respond to the first post :)

Two words (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733629)

Continuous creation. God put those new bacteria there to test my faith ;-)

Re:Two words (5, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734107)

More insightful than funny. Creationism has nothing to do with a balanced look at the facts, and everything to do with strong personal beliefs. No amount of proof will turn the head of a devout creationist, since God, via the Bible (or the creationist's interpretation of it) is the ultimate authority.

Re:Two words (5, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734431)

Which is fine with me. People can believe what they want. Where I start to have problems is when they want to start forcing others to teach their personal beliefs in Science class.

amusing (5, Insightful)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734171)

I often find it amazing how people are stereotyped. Not all people who believe God is responsible for creation of the universe have a problem with evolutionary theory. Roman Catholics believe God is responsible for everything. Including random chance ( which everyone knows is seldom all the random.)

So assuming all science were in and we could prove from end to end the entire evolution of the human species , you would have made no progress in proving or disproving either the existence of God or weather or not He was ultimately responsible for the creation of human beings.

The only group that holds 'evolution can't happen because the bible says' is a very small minority of Christians. Specifically biblical literalists.

Evolution also poses no particular threat to Hindu or Buddhist belief system.

Re:amusing (2, Informative)

Strilanc (1077197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734377)

It's becoming more commonplace for "creationist" to by default mean "young earth creationist", and that is what the GP was most likely referring to (definitely seems that way based on the context).

Strictly speaking, you're correct because "God created the universe" and "the theory of evolution is true" can both be true.

Re:amusing (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734425)

But generally in modern usage, "Creationist" is used to label someone who rejects the possibility of evolution of species and believes that all current species were created in their current forms. People who believe that God used the big bang and evolution to create the universe to its current state don't typically have that label applied to them. So by saying that this flies in the face of creationism, one isn't saying anything about how it fits with the beliefs of most theists/Christians, only those who believe this narrow definition of creation.

Re:Two words (2, Interesting)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734333)

I know the parent is meant to be funny but it always amazes how the general opinion is that the Intelligent Design camp is at odds with the Creationist camp. Who's to say that God isn't a metaphor for the forces at work that allow our universe to exist? In that sense, God would be responsible for evolution and all the other processes at work here.

Granted I'm Agnostic but the problem with the Creationists is that they take the stories of the Bible literally. There are several branches of Christianity that understand that parts of the Bible are meant to be interpretted metaphorically. In reality, you'll find that most religious texts have common metaphors that refer to the same basic concept.

So, why continue perpetuating the rhetoric which continues the "Us vs. Them" mentality? Instead, we should all work together, searching for that which we refer to as "God", "Mother Nature", "Father Time", "Flying Spaghetti Monster", etc. Whatever you want to call it, it's an entity unto itself and this discovery sheds a little more light on what it is and how it works.

Re:Two words (2, Informative)

ElizabethGreene (1185405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734447)

Obligatory link to xkcd.com here [xkcd.com] .

Let me be the first to say... (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733633)

It's a miracle!

Re:Let me be the first to say... (4, Funny)

zach_d (782013) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733961)

It's clear evidence of a noodley appendage!

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Funny)

Cypher04 (807337) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734019)

Praise Jebus!

Remember... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733649)

"One in a billion odds" means very, very different things for bacteria than it does for humans.

Re:Remember... (5, Informative)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733785)

Hell, even for humans it means ~6.7

Re:Remember... (4, Funny)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733795)

To bacteria, that means "It'll happen eight times before Thursday."

I can't wait for God's press release on this one.

Re:Remember... (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734327)

I can't wait for God's press release on this one.
Blah-blah-blah revolutionary E. Coli version 2.0 blah-blah-blah flexibly interoperate blah-blah-blah leverage synergies blah-blah-blah best-of-breed blah-blah-blah exciting new environmental opportunities blah-blah-blah...

For Britons too (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733965)

An American is a thousand times as likely to witness an one in a billion odds.

Re:Remember... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734475)

Tell that to China!

Quote from article: (5, Funny)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733685)

"In the meantime, the experiment stands as proof that evolution does not always lead to the best possible outcome."

Wasn't that already proven with the rise of homo sapiens?

Re:Quote from article: (1)

Sectrish (949413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733943)

Are you somehow suggesting that we are not the best nature has ever produced?
And "best" is subjective anyway... best for what?

More on-topic, what says that the 11 other families wouldn't eventually get an equivalent trait? I mean, we're talking really short timespans here, biologically speaking. I would say that these experiments can count as proof for many things, but not the "forever closed" theory. I, for one, shudder at the thought of not being able to evolve wings anymore because my ancestors made a big mistake.

Re:Quote from article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734253)

The best would not be destroying its own habitat.

That's pretty sad when.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733709)

someone posting on /. confuses the origin of life with Evolution.

Auxbuss sends us to New Scientist for news sure to perplex and confound creationists: scientists have watched a new, complex evolutionary trait develop in the lab.

Creationists don't believe in evolution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734361)

EOM, you fucktard.

Never Be Enough (4, Insightful)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733741)

Too bad this evidence still won't be enough to make creationists change their minds.

Re:Never Be Enough (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733903)

Why should it? Nothing has been offered that refutes Creationism.

Re:Never Be Enough (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734031)

Generally speaking creationists believe species didn't evolve, but were created. It can mean just abiogenesis, but it seldom if ever is used like that.

Re:Never Be Enough (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734443)

Actually... the term usually is "macroevolution" that the Creationists seem to have a problem with. So, unless this bacterium suddenly became a dog or something, which it didn't, evidently... it just gained the ability to eat something that it hadn't been eating before... I think it may still fall outside of macroevolution.

I think people are going a little overboard on exactly what happened, here.

Re:Never Be Enough (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734413)

Of course not, because nothing can refute creationism. That's the precise reason it isn't a scientific theory at all. It can't be falsified. There is simply no way to disprove the hypothesis that an all powerful being willed it to happen that way.

Re:Never Be Enough (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734063)

Too bad this evidence still won't be enough to make creationists change their minds .
There was a problem with your sentence. I have highlighted it and request that you fix it.

Re:Never Be Enough (1)

Squiffy (242681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734233)

That's because creationism can explain *anything*. It's an unfalsifiable semantic blob.

Re:Never Be Enough (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734277)

Maybe because it has nothing to do with creation? The creation of the entire universe (something the physicists haven't worked out either, by the way) is hardly related to evolution seen in a laboratory.

Re:Never Be Enough (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734343)

Nothing will change the minds of creationist. The arrived at their position sans data, therefore no amount of data will change their minds.

Faith is their object of worship and if anything this allows them to exercise more faith. In religion faith is both the means and end.

Or alternately... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733749)

God performs miracle of transformation on bacteria right before the eyes of watching scientists, yet they still refuse to believe in Him.

Okay... I was just saying :(

Perplex and Confound? (1)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733753)

I don't understand why this would perplex or confound creationists. They ignore the facts about evolution anyway; why would this change anything. This will just be added to the list of things to ignore or distort through the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design.

Re:Perplex and Confound? (4, Funny)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733861)

We are not bacteria! We are not bacteria! We are not monkeys! I mean we are not bacteria!

You can't even see a bacteria with your own eye, so this can't be real.

Re:Perplex and Confound? (1)

richardellisjr (584919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734081)

First off this is proof that evolution can happen... and in all likelihood has happened in the past. However no matter how much you want it, it does not disprove creation. No amount of science and proof can destroy religion as long as people believe in that religion.

BTW, I am and always have been an agnostic.

Re:Perplex and Confound? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734189)

They ignore the facts about evolution anyway; why would this change anything. This will just be added to the list of things to ignore or distort through the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design.

The article even does that for them:

"Indeed, the inability to use citrate is one of the traits by which bacteriologists distinguish E. coli from other species. The citrate-using mutants increased in population size and diversity."
See? E. coli don't metabolize citrate by the "evolutionists'" own admission. Thus, around generation 20k, their culture must have suffered some contamination.

(For the humor impaired - I mean this as a Devil's Advocate position, not a serious criticism of a major discovery in genetics)

This is why ... (5, Informative)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733761)

This is why doctors ask people to finish the entire bottle when prescribing antibiotics. This is also why we should ban antibacterial hand soaps for domestic use - because when you bathe a population of microbes in something for millions of generations, the odds are that eventually a spontaneous mutation will occur.

All the anal-retentive clean freaks will just have to figure out how to live with the notion that they - like everyone else - carry microbes on their skin.

Re:This is why ... (4, Insightful)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733983)

I always figured this would be how we kill ourselves off. Over use of antibacterial soaps and cleaners in homes. At some point in the next few decades we will have an outbreak of a supper bug that can not be defeated with any antibiotics that are available. As more and more people die off civilization collapses.

Of course the good news is that we can then ride around in big honking SUVs made of all kinds of different parts searching for gas and shooting arrows at each other. I wonder where we will get the hair dye for the mohawks that will be in fashion at that time or the leather for the jackets and straps?

Re:This is why ... (1)

SilentBob0727 (974090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734399)

I figure once we are unable to keep pace with pathogenic mutations in our antibiotic research, it will force an evolutionary arms race between humans and bacteria where the more disease-resistant population survives and becomes the forbears of future humanity. Then, assuming a total collapse of civilization, those with the ingenuity to figure out how to harness dormant technologies will gain significant advantages over the rest of the population, and thereby dominate. The nerds win!!!

Re:This is why ... (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734455)

Unless we get caught by the bully passing out purple nurples.

Supper Bug? (1)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734441)

How dare you suggest this possibility.. No bug is getting my dinner!

Re:This is why ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734415)

This is also why we should ban antibacterial hand soaps for domestic use
Oh, I hate it when somebody comes out and starts chanting "let's all hop on the ban wagon!" Sure, it's possible - even likely given sufficient time - that bacteria will evolve resistance to our current antibiotics. It's also possible that strains of bacteria resistant to soap and water, or to rubbing alcohol, or to hydrogen peroxide will also evolve. Shall we ban all of those too? Banning things - I don't care what - is almost never a good idea. Bans are usually just clumsy attempts to put some cats back in the bag after they've been running lose for years and have had dozens of litters of kittens. The solution isn't to ban and limit the use of antibiotics. The solution is to fund research and encourage the creation and discovery of new antibiotics. Human beings aren't helpless. We can solve our problems if we use our minds and aren't afraid to do a little work. Cowering behind bans and blocks won't do any thing but give us a false sense of security. Proactively finding new antibiotics is the solution, not some futile and reactionary banning of their use.

Quick! (1)

unspokenchaos (1295553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733773)

did someone remember to bring a camera, lets post it on youtube!

Don't Impeach Bush +1 Helpful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733775)


Have The White House AND Congress swap places with the current Gitmo prisoners. On second thought, impeach [crooksandliars.com] The White House AND then send them to Gitmo.

Cheers,
Kilgore Trout

Pros and Cons (1)

silvermorph (943906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733805)

It's a setback for creationists, sure, but imagine how happy the spontaneous generationists are.

Re:Pros and Cons (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734123)

Uh, this has nothing to do with spontaneous generation (abiogenesis).
"Abiogenesis: the now discredited theory that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation."

Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (3, Insightful)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733807)

Keep it up and it won't be a "just" a theory any more! I'm so sick of my neighbor saying "evolution is just a theory" with a scornful attitude that implies evolution is a whimsical idea kids will have and common sense will later dispel.

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733859)

Might want to point out to him that "Theory" is about the heaviest word that science ever uses - its not the common term.

What he is referring to with scorn is called a "hypothesis".

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (1)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734105)

Evolution is NOT a theory. It is an observation about the world. A "fact" if you will. No sane individual who reasonably trusts their senses doubts that species change over time.

Natural Selection is the biological theory to explain the mechanism by which evolution occurs.

"Theory" IS the heaviest word you can use in biology. "Laws" are only used in physics and chemistry, and even then very seldom. The reason is that (this experiment aside) it is almost impossible to test something like natural selection experimentally, like we would gravity.

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (2, Informative)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734315)

Well, "evolutionary theory" (which includes natural selection) is in the scientific sense, a theory. In the colloquial sense, that translates to "fact." The colloquial sense of "theory" does not apply to the theory of natural selection any more than it applies to gravity, indeed.

I think that rather than defending the strength of the word "theory," we need to recognize that there is indeed more than one sense to the word, and creationists like to use the "weaker" sense when referring to evolutionary theory, when in reality they're wrong to do so. It's yet another disingenuity on their part. When they say "evolution is only a theory," they are either disingenuous or misinformed. There is no other alternative, because they are not using the word "theory" in the scientific sense.

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (5, Interesting)

zach_d (782013) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733905)

You could counter your neighbour with "gravity is 'just a theory'" as well.

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (2, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734241)

Or: "It may be a theory, but your religion isn't even that."

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (5, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733993)

No, it'll still just be a theory. A theory that happens to match reality with a large pile of evidence behind it. But in science, there's really no such thing as a "fact", simply theories with greater levels of evidence supporting them.

Gravity is just a theory. The Sun-centered solar system is just a theory. Radio waves are just a theory.

Re:Keep it up and it won't be a "theory" (2, Informative)

Krinsath (1048838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734351)

Actually, it will someday be "not a theory" I refer you to the example above of gravity. Newton proposed the Theory of Gravity, which has since been tested, observed, and (more or less) universally accepted as true by the scientific community. Hence it is currently the Law of Gravity. You also have the Laws of Thermodynamics from Sir Issac which have similarly been observed, tested and validated over the centuries.

When a theory is proved to be cogent, and repeatedly true in empirical testing over a long period of time it becomes a scientific law. Evolution is a long, long way from that status (given that biology is a much more "fluid" field compared to physics) but as the GP points out, this is another step closer.

Not to be overly pedantic, but it's not relegated to just being a theory forever. :)

Ha! This is just how God test his flock. (4, Funny)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733809)

Ha! God let the devil do this so he can test who are the real faithful, and who are the unfaithful to be smitten.

Re:Ha! This is just how God test his flock. (3, Funny)

seanonymous (964897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733877)

Without the smitten, it would be hard for a species to evolve.

NOOOOOOOOO! (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733811)

The sound of a million creationists sensing their world view shatter.

 

Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (1, Funny)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733981)

It's as if six thousand voices cried out at once and their arguments were suddenly silenced...
Fixed that for you.

Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734011)

Not at all! They'll just say, "That's micro evolution. Evolve me a giraffe in a petri dish and I'll be impressed."

It's funny how they are completely non-skeptical when it comes to their book, and how intensely skeptical they are toward things like evolution.

Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (2, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734387)

Well of course. It doesn't even require them to change their position. The whole "micro-evolution versus macro-evolution" argument has always been about accepting that 1+1=2 while denying that 1 * 1000000 = 1000000 because it "hasn't been observed and can never be observed". Now that somebody managed to get to a million, they'll claim we have to count up to a billion to prove anything. Same argument, different scale.

Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734423)

Not funny at all. Science neither requires nor requests faith. Faith is the domain of religions.

At the moment, there is a lot of scienceology going on around the field of evolution. A lot of people using it as if it is some kind of bludgeon with which to beat the faithful. A response is to be expected.

Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734153)

Wouldn't it be more like 'no' for the sound of thousands of creationists sensing their world view shatter and "CCCCLLLAAANNNGGGGG' for the millions of creationists whose world view successfully prevented them from believing the article?

Missing Link (1)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733821)

But I'm sure there's a missing link in there somewhere!

Re:Missing Link (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734267)

Around generation 20,000 according to the article. Apparently that was when the intern accidentally spilled a little bleach into the experiment and altered that groups evolution.

Somewhere in a petri-dish in the lab a whole bunch of bacteria are discussing evolution and creationism. One group believes with out doubt that life started some 40,000 generations ago when there was a bright flash of light and suddenly there was an ever abundant food source made available. The other group believes that life started only 10,000 generations ago when the Scientist brought the first ones into existence and exactly as they are now.

All discussion ends abruptly when the petri-dish they occupy is cleaned out for a new experiment.

But which eye? (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733839)

"Lenski's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists"
But is it the blind eye or the remaining good eye after looking into the laser?...

Nylon Bug (2, Informative)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733863)

It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait


Didn't the nylon eating bacteria already demonstrate that a complex trait can arise in short order? Actually I think it was industrial waste products from the nylon manufacturing process but still the same.

Is there a thumb over the lens in one picture? (1)

extremely (1681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733891)

So, either evolution is just that much more proven or somewhere in the research materials they have a picture of God's hands! Either way, major science win!

Prepare the asbestos pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23733897)

>> A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes

And now a major internet flamewar is about to unfurl right before our eyes.

I for one... (0, Redundant)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#23733991)

...welcome our evolutionary innovative bacteria overlords. And so do I.

Big deal (2, Interesting)

devotedlhasa (1298843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734027)

I've been watching bacteria developing complex evolutionary traits in my refrigerator for some time now....

Hmmmm.... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734029)

So if the lab represents a natural environment, then I wonder what the scientists represent? They must represent random chance.

Flamebait (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734057)

sure to perplex and confound creationists

Why must this be presented in this context? It is quite immature, and most definitely unscientific. Regardless, creationism and mutation are not mutually exclusive anyway.

Calling David Duchovny (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734069)

and Orlando Jones! Kill it quick!

Patience (1)

blueforce (192332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734071)

I certainly don't want to downplay the importance of this discovery, but oh man, could you imagine sitting on a stool every day for 20 years watching a dozen petri dishes waiting for something to happen?

That's a lot of crossword puzzles.

Grow up. (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734077)

For fuck's sake people, grow up. Can't we discuss a cool scientific discovery without dragging religion-bashing into it? If this changes their minds, it will do so without our mockery. If it doesn't change their minds, it will do so without our mockery. In the meantime, we will have wasted our time, and ceded any moral high ground, by lowering ourselves to the level of 5-year-old "ha ha told you so ha ha ha!" nonsense.

Anyway, it's an interesting find, but I wonder, why did they not wait until they finished their investigation of the event? It says that they're still figuring out if the change was a random, incredibly rare mutation, or the result of many small changes. Why not wait until you get the whole story to announce your discovery?

Re:Grow up. (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734313)

Dunno, but I gotta wonder if press release = higher likelihood of more funding or some such thing. May be something along those lines, anyway.

Re:Grow up. (1, Insightful)

Maestro485 (1166937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734407)

It's not religion bashing so much as it's creationism-bashing. They can be mutually exclusive, and creationists deserve all the bashing they get for propagating such useless ideas while simultaneously wasting everyone's time. Just because most creationists are religious doesn't mean attacking them is attacking their religion.

Evolutionist (2, Insightful)

BigDumbAnimal (532071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734079)

If Creationist are just a bunch of crack pot fundamentalist nuts, why do these scientist frequently seem preoccupied with creationist. FTFA:

Lenski's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists, notes Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. "The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events," he says. "That's just what creationists say can't happen."

Re:Evolutionist (1, Interesting)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734341)

I agree, it makes a reader think that their research is biased.

Re:Evolutionist (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734345)

Because they make a lot of noise, for one. Science is hard, and people tend to seize upon a "simple" answer, rather than the difficult one. With the state of science education in this country, one has to nip these things in the bud.

micro evolution != macro evolution (1, Insightful)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734085)

it's still just bacteria, just now a little better. we already knew that this kind of micro evolution happens. it's not the kind of evolution that proves anything significant. at least not yet.

Re:micro evolution != macro evolution (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734363)

So if evolving to be able to metabolize a whole different food source is micro evolution, what counts as macro?

This seems fairly significant to me...it would be like humans being able to drink gasoline for energy.

I for one... (1)

hbean (144582) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734103)

...welcome or new bacterial overlords.

Simple folk (0, Troll)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734121)

the bacteria suddenly acquired the ability to metabolise citrate, a second nutrient in their culture medium that E. coli normally cannot use.
While I do agree that creationists will be perplexed and confounded, it will be due to the likely abysmal Biology and Chemistry programs in Alabama's educational system and not the actual implications of the study. I'm sorry but those results probably require too much extra explanation to really convince the type of person who think's evolution is just too hard to swaller. Call me when the bacteria grow lips and start whistlin' Dixie.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734175)

The intelligent design folks will just say that god caused and was in control of the random events that caused the mutation.

Which is exactly why ID is useless. God, being an all powerful invisible being, can do anything without restrictions, and therefore EVERYTHING can be explained as god's will, if you allow for god. This is not useful to science in any way. ID is not science, and in fact can cohabit perfectly with ACTUAL evolution (just replace every instance of "random" with "god did it").

Therefore, ID people need to stop bitching about evolution being taught in schools, and just tell their kids that god controls the results of random events.

Good thing I'm posting AC because, man, I'm embarrassed at how poorly I constructed this argument.

Turn of events... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734185)

In an ironic turn of events, the 13th strain of E. coli attacked and devoured one of Dr. Lenski's interns. Within a few hours of the event, the strain contracted some sort of primitive "infection" and died. While the remaining 12 strains show no signs of aggressive behavior, researchers are proceeding with caution.

And to confound scientists.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734195)

Ongoing and continual mutations in virii and bacteria will continue to render every major infection untreatable, including AIDS, Hepatitis, the Flu, TB, and the cold. This leads into an uptick in the adoption of religion, largely because science is of no help.

Last comment in article is stupid... (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734221)

The last comment in the article should be edited out.

"That's just what creationists say can't happen."

Look creationism is in the same league as astrology.

When astronomers make some new discovery about the cosmos do they tack on the end - "there that will show them astrologers up!"

Re:Last comment in article is stupid... (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734477)

Actually the only reason it might be "stupid" is that creationists do not say that this type of evolution can't happen.

flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734243)

I guess we will just have to wait and see how this plays out. Either they are right and it will be hailed as finally being the one beneficial mutation many have claimed exist in myriad, or, they will realize how this is not an example of macro but rather micro and it will be misrepresented as many other things oft are in textbooks (piltdown/nebraska man/haeckel's drawings of embryonic 'evidence', etc).

I'm all for science, but I feel the word is being largely abused in this day and age. We see tens if not hundreds of thousands of examples of micro in our everyday lives without even realizing it, no one that can honestly look at the facts can possibly deny that -- but we have yet to see a single example of macro proven, and if we did, we would need to see thousands of more examples to understand its mechanisms and limitations (but isn't that essentially the argument- there are no limitations?)

Big deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23734289)

OMFG scientists found another mutation!!!

  So what? It's still just a freaking bacteria. Wake me when it grows legs or starts developing a language. Neo-darwinian macro evolutionary theory predicts that it become something besides a bacteria; we've still never seen that happen. Wishful thinking at best, self-delusion at worst.

Doesn't disprove creationism (1, Funny)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734293)

This doesn't prove or disprove Evolution (not the big E) or creationism. The bacterium merely adapted to their environment, the evolved (little e), which creationist have no problem with. The presence of Citrate aided at some level in the tiny changes to each successive generation until those changes resulted in the ability to digest citrate.

Show me how how the leafy sea dragon developed its leafiness and I might just start to believe in Evolution (with a big E), othewise, you are just seeing persistent change from generation to generation that eventually produces something useful.

Or, maybe if the bacterium suddenly developed the ability to feed on their glass petri dishes.

Otherwise, neither side should be to quick to exclaim or disclaim anything.

eat + fruit = no God (0, Troll)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734295)

It learned to eat oranges! Woohoo! God must be dead. I know if people saw me eating fruit they would swear hell froze over.

They're still bacteria (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734339)

...sure to perplex and confound creationists...

Not really. They're still bacteria. Obviously bacteria can evolve different traits. All of life does that. Now, if they had evolved into multi-cell life forms, that would be big news.

RTFA! (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23734367)

This is just a recommendation that you go RTFA, because it's short yet tells you enough to show that this was an outstanding experiment that showed some remarkable behavior.
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