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Scientists Resurrect 500-Million-Year-Old Gene Inside Modern Organism

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the you-bred-velocibacteria? dept.

Biotech 135

An anonymous reader writes with news that researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken a gene from 500-million-year-old bacteria and inserted it into modern E. coli bacteria. They then allowed the bacteria to evolve over the course of a thousand generations to see whether it would resemble its original 'evolutionary trajectory.' From the article: "After achieving the difficult task of placing the ancient gene in the correct chromosomal order and position in place of the modern gene within E. coli, Kaçar produced eight identical bacterial strains and allowed 'ancient life' to re-evolve. This chimeric bacteria composed of both modern and ancient genes survived, but grew about two times slower than its counterpart composed of only modern genes. 'The altered organism wasn’t as healthy or fit as its modern-day version, at least initially,' said Gaucher, 'and this created a perfect scenario that would allow the altered organism to adapt and become more fit as it accumulated mutations with each passing day.' The growth rate eventually increased and, after the first 500 generations, the scientists sequenced the genomes of all eight lineages to determine how the bacteria adapted. Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart."

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135 comments

AC resurrects FIRST POST inside modern Slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638609)

I am vary good at this.

Not terribly exciting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638619)

Let me know when the e. coli evolves in to something other than e. coli. Now *that* would be interesting.

Re:Not terribly exciting (5, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#40638763)

Well, a defining characteristic of the e. coli species is the lack of an ability to transport citrate across the cell membrane. Enough so that this is often used to differentiate e. coli from salmonella in cultures. So, evolving the ability to transport (and therefore metabolize) citrate in the lab [wikipedia.org] would seem to be a pretty good example of e. coli becoming something other than e. coli (lacking one of the defining characteristics of the species).

Or ... change the "defining characteristic" (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#40639403)

It's time to realize that a "defining characteristic" assigned my man is subject to revision.

There was a time that, for a person, having a heartbeat was a defining characteristic of being alive.

We now know no longer consider you dead just because your heart stopped.

Not to mention that some models of artificial hearts or heart-assist devices result in a person who is alive, awake, and functional without a pulse, or at least not one that you would recognize if you put your fingers on the person's wrist.

arg, typo in line 1: "my" should be "by" (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#40639423)

Speaking of revisions, let's try this again:

It's time to realize that a "defining characteristic" assigned by man is subject to revision.

There was a time that, for a person, having a heartbeat was a defining characteristic of being alive.

We now know no longer consider you dead just because your heart stopped.

Not to mention that some models of artificial hearts or heart-assist devices result in a person who is alive, awake, and functional without a pulse, or at least not one that you would recognize if you put your fingers on the person's wrist.

Re:arg, typo in line 1: "my" should be "by" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639441)

For revision 2 you might want to clarify "We now know no longer consider you dead just because your heart stopped." ;)

Re:Or ... change the "defining characteristic" (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#40640193)

Yes, that's a point that my argument makes by coincidence. All this micro- vs macro- evolution is worthless speculation anyway because nature doesn't work that way. Nature isn't divided neatly from one species to another and none of our working definitions of a species work in every situation. The very idea of a 'species' goes against observational and theoretical reasoning when it comes to evolution because it implies that there's a cutoff point where one generation is species A and the next is species B, and that isn't the way things work in the real world.

So, is it fair to say the evolved version of e. coli is a new species? Well, it breaks the human made definition of the species e. coli so by human definitions it probably should be; else you can just keep moving the goalposts over and over again and end with something you call e. coli that has little relation to your original definition.

Re:Or ... change the "defining characteristic" (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 2 years ago | (#40640349)

Evolution by variation and selection.

Is there variation? Yes.

Is there selection? Yes.

What more is there to say? I don't understand why people are so vehemently opposed to this simple and readily verifiable explanation for the way that complex systems (like biological life, social structures, economic systems, galaxies, indeed the whole Universe or Universes, etc.) behave.

Re:Not terribly exciting (5, Funny)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 2 years ago | (#40639319)

Damn hypocrites, slicing ancient genes is ok but re-cloning Hitler and put his brain in a great white shark is suddenly over the top!

Re:Not terribly exciting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40640013)

This is why they ended at 1000 generations.

You never, ever let evolution experiments get to 1001 generations. It ALWAYS turns into Hitler brain in a great white shark. Creationists are so adamantly against evolution because they're trying to protect you.

Re:Not terribly exciting (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#40640463)

So if we can trick shark-Hitler into living about 50 generations all in the course of two years, he would think his Thousand Year Reich had actually come and gone, and he would happily go back to being a painter-shark.

I like where this is going. Kickstarter?

Re:Not terribly exciting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40640807)

At least give the guy credit for killing Hitler!

Two words. (4, Interesting)

JCCyC (179760) | about 2 years ago | (#40638621)

Twelve. Monkeys.

Re:Two words. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638661)

this is two or three times worse than that. It's like twenty-four or thirty-six monkeys.

Re:Two words. (0)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 2 years ago | (#40638663)

Jurassic. Park.

Re:Two words. (1, Insightful)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 2 years ago | (#40638669)

Jurassic. Park.

so in other words?

What could possibly go wrong....

Re:Two words. (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#40641041)

Jurassic. Park.

so in other words?

What could possibly go wrong....

Last line of the summary:

Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.

So yes, one hopes this doesn't get out of the Level 4 Bio Lab.

500 million years ago there were no warm blooded animals, and most life was aquatic [wikipedia.org] . Whereas today, its rare (but not un-heard of) [jst.go.jp] to find an e.coli strain that can live for long outside the gut of a warm blooded animal, clearly this was not the case in the Cambrian.

Chances are this gene is from a time when water born e.coli were the norm.

Re:Two words. (5, Funny)

ddusza (775603) | about 2 years ago | (#40640175)

Sure, first it's all "oooohhhh" and "aaaahhhh", but then there is all the running and screaming....

Re:Two words. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40640439)

Sure, first it's all "oooohhhh" and "aaaahhhh", but then there is all the running and screaming....

You're only going to get voted down cause no one saw that sequel.

Re:Two words. (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#40638745)

>> Resurrect 500-Million-Year-Old Gene Inside Modern Organism

Or Hugh Hefner shtupping one of his models.

Re:Two words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639727)

They must be rounding down on his age then.

Re:Two words. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638893)

Hmm... I am more curios to know how antibotics work on a 500 million year old version of E. Coli.
Why don' t they play with strains of anthrax.
Why don''t they play with strains of bubonic plauge.
Why don''t they play with strains of the flu that killed millions.
Oh wait. They do.

Don't give be that Bullshit it will never get out of the lab. My two words.
Killer Bee's

Re:Two words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638973)

Five-assed monkeys. Is there anything (anything at all) those crazy scientists won't muck around with?

What Possibly Could Get Wr... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639105)

...

Did they apply selective pressure? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639191)

Evolution is just the process of adapting to selective pressure. How things evolve depends on the best responses to that pressure.

If you just kind of let them go, with no pressure at all, then you probably won't see much evolution.

If you apply pressure, one would expect the end-results to be a natural response to that pressure.

I am not sure what this "trajectory" business is all about. Evolution does not have momentum.

Re:Did they apply selective pressure? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40639521)

So you are saying the only way to make humans to involve is to create a super bacteria, that will wipe out 75% of the population, because the genes have been dormant for so long that we have no resistance to the new mutations.

Or perhaps you work for Gorilla Grog and you just want to devolve the human race to Gorilla's.

Ether way, you are walking into super villinary territory.

Re:Did they apply selective pressure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639915)

Well, HIV (a virus) did a pretty much that in Africa. At first, there was no resistance in humans, but within a generation or two, which is really fast in terms of evolution, we have discovered individuals resistant to HIV. The gene(s) that give this resistance will certainly become more prevalent with time... humans continue to evolve.

Re:Two words. (3, Informative)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about 2 years ago | (#40639313)

If we are referring to popular culture for ideas about what could go wrong, there is a Canadian show called 'Regenesis' which I highly recommend. It is just sciency enough to make it uninteresting to the general public (Canadian accents and US government policy bashing may also play a role). Quote: "There are people working on things in labs right now that make the manhattan project look like kids playing with lego".

they damaged a gene meant to encode a protein (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40638657)

this damage they inferred as meaning they took the gene back 500 million years

then the bacteria slowly repaired the damage with successive mutations, somehow meaning 500 million years of evolution had been reacquired

"some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart"

meaning the typical background noise of random mutations, within or without this experiment, leads to natural variation in fitness

it's an interesting experiment, but the write up is highly contrived about what they actually did

Re:they damaged a gene meant to encode a protein (5, Informative)

OCedHrt (1001533) | about 2 years ago | (#40638977)

When the researchers looked closer, they noticed that every EF-Tu gene did not accumulate mutations. Instead, the modern proteins that interact with the ancient EF-Tu inside of the bacteria had mutated and these mutations were responsible for the rapid adaptation that increased the bacteria’s fitness. In short, the ancient gene has not yet mutated to become more similar to its modern form, but rather, the bacteria found a new evolutionary trajectory to adapt.

Not really repair the damage, but work around it.

Re:they damaged a gene meant to encode a protein (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40639057)

actually, that's why I really want to see the original article ... I want to know what selective pressure was placed on the cells (i.e. what medium / temp / atmospheric conditions / carbon source)?

Re:they damaged a gene meant to encode a protein (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639129)

Could it be, that the per-mutations were of . . intelligent nature therefore? E.g. showing a "field" which surround all life to perform and select in a certain way and NOT randomly? The implication of that experiment are far fetching!!

Re:they damaged a gene meant to encode a protein (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639831)

So the Bacteria always came out as bacteria never as sea monkeys orsome strain that might have become human or dog etc. This evolution thing seems to be stuck in that fact that whatever it is always reproduces whatever it was never somthing else? or do i lack the faith in evolution?

Because what the world needs now... (0)

utoddl (263055) | about 2 years ago | (#40638685)

Because what the world needs now is a better E. coli.
Science: Is there nothing it can't do?

What about Horizontal Gene Transfer? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40638697)

From the article:

“we want to know if an organism’s history limits its future and if evolution always leads to a single, defined point or whether evolution has multiple solutions to a given problem.”

I would wager it would almost have to be the latter. For example, I found it odd that the article made no mention of horizontal gene transfer [wikipedia.org] and how, over 500 million years, the chance of that bacteria participating in HGT with a distantly related bacteria could have given it, say, a faster growth mechanism -- just like bacterial resistance to drugs is theorized to be a result of HGT. This is probably a useful experiment to look at one of the many mechanisms of evolution but not the entire picture of evolution nor could it effectively draw a final conclusion that "evolution always leads to a single, defined point."

Re:What about Horizontal Gene Transfer? (3, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#40639053)

It appears the experiment already has proven that evolution can take many tracks, as the bacteria adapted to the ancient gene, and did not mutate the ancient gene at all as of yet. Sounds to me like the evolutionary track has already altered, and if the bacteria is as healthy or more so than its unaltered cousins, then this bacteria would already be in better shape on the evolutionary ladder and would push evolution in a different direction.

Honestly, I don't know why this is a surprise, since evolution is very much about reaction to outside pressures. A slight change in those pressures can change the outcome of the system, as it's not exactly a stable system.

Re:What about Horizontal Gene Transfer? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40639507)

“we want to know if an organism’s history limits its future and if evolution always leads to a single, defined point or whether evolution has multiple solutions to a given problem.”

I think the real answer is that the FSM carried out his design with correct application of His Noodly Appendages.

conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638705)

'The altered organism wasn’t as healthy or fit as its modern-day version, at least initially,

not as healthy or fit as its modern-day version *under the conditions tested*.

Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.

Again, under the conditions tested.

An interesting finding, but fitness measured across one or a handful of laboratory conditions is not a measure of an organisms true ability to survive in the highly variable natural environment. In particular, it seems extremely unlikely to me that any of the lineages derived from the ancient strains are actually better suited for survival. These Bacteria have been selected upon for 500 million years, so the chances of re-evolving a superior strain in such a short time seems unlikely.

Genius! (1)

Cuddlah (2677847) | about 2 years ago | (#40638725)

So they created a new strain of dangerous bacteria that people have no exposure and inherent resistance to? Great idea.

Re:Genius! (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40638983)

It actually is a very good idea. They learned a lot about how bacteria evolve and adapt, which is critical to our understanding of disease and how new diseases emerge.

Re:Genius! (0)

yodleboy (982200) | about 2 years ago | (#40639509)

why take chances with ancient specimens? Couldn't they have learned the exact same things using more modern and better understood strains? Don't get me wrong. I love science and discovery and all that jazz. I just wonder about the playing with fire mentality of some researchers sometimes. "Hey we're gonna do this cool experiment, let's do it with something really COOL!"

Re:Genius! (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40639649)

Couldn't they have learned the exact same things using more modern and better understood strains?

As I read the article, that's what they did. The 500 million year old part appears to be hype; apparently they calculated what the genes would've looked like early in the evolution of the species and recreated part of it to watch it evolve again. But I might be wrong there, but I don't think they did it just because it seemed COOL to grow E. coli bacteria (we all do that already).

Re:Genius! (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40639011)

E. coli is absolutely everywhere. Some strains are dangerous, but other strains are beneficial; like the ones living in your gut.

Gene Simmons Inside Modern Organism (prior art?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638751)

'nuff said.

As a microbiologist... (5, Interesting)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40638785)

Not only in the summary here on /. horrible, but the PR ... is even worse. Where's the link to the peer-reviewed work? Neither in the "summary", nor in the PR. FWIW, I don't find the purported results interesting in the slightest in their current form. For example, how were the cells grown? (please don't say in LB in a chemostat.)

Apparently Not Yet Peer Reviewed (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40639233)

Well, I'm not going to judge before all the facts are in but after doing a bit of digging we can see from one of the researcher's CVs [gatech.edu] :

Arslan BK and Gaucher EA Replaying the Tape of Life Through Experimental Evolution of Ancient EF-Tu proteins Astrobiology Science Conference 2010: Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond, held April 26-20, 2010 in League City, Texas. LPI Contribution No. 1538

Which I think was just a presentation that provides very little information given all I can find is this PDF [usra.edu] :

Whether evolution would ‘replay the tape of life’ if given the opportunity has long fascinated biologists. Paleogenetics via laboratory resurrected ancient genes not only reveals information regarding ancestral phenotypes and environments but also provides an opportunity to ‘replay’ the molecular tape of life. Recent work has demonstrated that ancestral sequences can be computationally determined and experimentally resurrected. The ideal paleoexperimental evolution system requires an organism with a short generation time and a protein whose ancestral genotype and phenotype used to replace the modern gene and causes the modern host to be less fit. The research described here focuses on Elongation Factor Tu (EF-Tu) involved in the protein synthesis machinery of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. The optimal thermostability of EF-Tus correlates with the optimal thermostability of their host organisms and are ideal for these types of experiments. Previously we have resurrected ancient EF-Tus and showed that these ancient proteins display a range of thermostability profiles. We will replace the modern EF-Tu sequences with ancient EF-Tus and observe their adaptation through experimental evolution. Results from this work will help us identify whether evolution is repetitive for this experimental system.

I don't think that really answers your question and I think this research has only been presented at conferences, published in conference proceedings and not yet peer reviewed in a journal (if it has there is no mention of it on Kacar's CV). I also find it odd that on her site she's using the phrase "tree of life" and not "web of life" which I thought was a more modern way of looking at evolution -- especially in prokaryotes.

I will say that it is probably within line to chide the researcher for putting this little blurb on her research page [gatech.edu] :

Experimental Evolution of Ancient Proteins

To assess the role of contingency in evolution, I construct an experimental time machine in the lab by inserting previously resurrected genes into a modern bacterial genomes, then subjecting them to experimental evolution. Observing the real-time evolution of ancient genes as they adapt to the conditions of modern bacteria allows us to analyze evolution in action.

"Experimental time machine?" Please, leave the hype and sensationalism to the "science" reporters.

Re:Apparently Not Yet Peer Reviewed (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40639331)

I think the hype machine is going factor-10 on this one until I see the peer-reviewed data.

Re:Apparently Not Yet Peer Reviewed (1)

steelyeyedmissileman (1657583) | about 2 years ago | (#40640403)

Whether evolution would ‘replay the tape of life’ if given the opportunity has long fascinated biologists. Paleogenetics via laboratory resurrected ancient genes not only reveals information regarding ancestral phenotypes and environments but also provides an opportunity to ‘replay’ the molecular tape of life.

IANAB, but it doesn't make sense to me that this experiment does what she is claiming. I can understand learning about "ancestral phenotypes", but "replay the molecular tape of life"? That would only be possible if the cells were exposed to the same conditions they would have 500 million years ago, correct? With environmental conditions being a chaotic system, you'd have to get it exactly right-- impossible given we don't have an exact knowledge of those conditions. At best you might argue that you can show chaotic fluctuations in the system have little impact if the evolution takes nearly the same track, but then you'd have to wait 500 million years for that... Unless modern E. Coli is more prolific than it's ("great-" * 10e9) + "grandparents."

I would think if you're examining fixed vs multi-point evolutionary paths, a better experiment would be to clone a number of cells (cloned to ensure identical genetics at the start) and grow them in isolated but (very nearly) identical environments. Using ancient DNA sequences won't help us see if the path leads to modern genes without waiting a few thousand millenia.

Again, IANAB, but the premise of this experiment seems ill-placed. Any biologists around that can clarify for us?

Re:Apparently Not Yet Peer Reviewed (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#40640817)

"Experimental time machine?" Please, leave the hype and sensationalism to the "science" reporters.

Have pity on the poor girl. Science and Nature (and the university PR department) keeps telling you how important the public understanding of science is, and how important it is for scientists to explain their work in language the general public can understand. Otherwise you'll lose your grants, the Republicans will teach creationism in school, and your freshman biology students will go blank, fall asleep in class and major in business administration.

Re:As a microbiologist... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#40640435)

I find your claim to be a microbiologist to be questionable. It's a well known fact that women are drawn to the biological sciences, and that no woman reads Slashdot. Therefore your are not a microbiologist.

Signed,
Anonymous Congressional Speechwriter.

Re:As a microbiologist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40640827)

Yeah, while it's cool they brought back an ancient gene, "re-evolving" seems a bit contrived, a thousand generations shouldn't produce 500 million years of evolution.

Anime has ruined me (4, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 2 years ago | (#40638827)

I was expecting a huge explosion of growth that chases the scientist out of the lab, grabs his ankle with a tentacle, drags him back into the lab to infect him and give him Akira-like telekinetic power and a thirst for world rule

I welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638865)

our new ancient bacteria overlords.

evolution vs physics (4, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#40638881)

What's amazing in modern society is how so many non-scientists (mainly religious fundamentalists of different sects) think evolution is very much up for debate while problems in physics are totally solved when it's the other way around. I was confronted once by an anti-evolution person who thought exactly how gravity works was a long ago solved case but evolution was some new wacky baseless idea being forced on gullible unbelievers.

Re:evolution vs physics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639407)

What is amazing is that SO MANY scientists that depend on grant money for their livelyhood produce studies that get them more grant money. I was once confronted by a scientist that said the ocean would be three feet higher by the year 2000. /broad brush use accepted....

religion and evolution (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#40639545)

The Conservative Judeo-Christian "about 5000-10000 year old universe" crowd doen't all say evolution CAN'T happen, but they all do say that within 6x24 hours of the creation of the Universe, the world looked like that described in Genesis. They don't say that if Rapture doesn't come for another 100,000 years we won't have new species, nor do most say that we don't have species now that didn't exist at the time of Adam and Eve. But for the fact that the sun may expand sooner, I would've used a billion years instead of 100,000 years, since it's pretty hard to argue against very visible evolution over a billion-year time frame.

Re:evolution vs physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639991)

I think that you'll find the more intelligent ones make a distinction between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. They don't deny that we are changing over time, but they do deny that we were once lesser species like fish and monkeys.

Re:evolution vs physics (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 2 years ago | (#40640649)

I think that you'll find the more intelligent ones make a distinction between micro-evolution and macro-evolution.

If they were really intelligent, they would realize that there is no fundamental difference between "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution". Over a few billion years, "micro-evolution" tends to add up. Eventually you get a population which can no longer interbreed with the original to produce fertile offspring, and a brand new species is born.

Re:evolution vs physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639993)

truly these mordern day Iluminati feel superior to non-scientists as they are the only ones who can understand that although they cannot make there prof undertandable to these non-scientists we should just have faith that what they have found is indeed true and marvel at the wonders. exuse my ignorance oh great ones but when was the concenses given that Evolution was to be called fact and not theroy again or are us non's to dull to know these things?

To determine the exact age of a gene... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638947)

It's super convenient and amazing how those genes have special teeny tiny little tags built in that say "Exactly 500 Million Year Old Gene"!

If you look really close, you can probably see a really really tiny cake with like 500 million candles and leftover party favors from other really old gene friends.

Re:To determine the exact age of a gene... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639107)

or maybe they were wearing tiny little shirts that said '500 million years old never looked so sexy'

No, seriously...how do they determine the fitness level of a bacteria? Is it a quantitative measure, like how many push-ups it can do in one minute? How much weight it can lift with its flagellum?

Re:To determine the exact age of a gene... (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 2 years ago | (#40639827)

I assume they mean "fitness" in its most basic sense: the ability to survive and thrive across multiple generations.

If Strain A reproduces slowly and dies easily, then it's not as fit as Strain B, which reproduces twice and fast and survives harsher conditions.

In the end, that's all "survival of the fittest" really means: those better-equipped to survive are more fit, by virtue of having survived where others did not.

A dangerous stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40638959)

We know neither the exact function of those old genes, nor how they interact with modern genomes. This is just a stunt, such experiments should be strictly controlled (not forbidden though) and not allowed in academic researach labs. F* morons, they never learn, they just want to save the world (and their careers) even if they have to kill the world to do it.

Re:A dangerous stunt (2)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 2 years ago | (#40640307)

--such experiments should be strictly controlled (not forbidden though)

We're really coming to the point in history where the thought of controlling genetic research is not possible. The tools and knowledge on how to do it are widely available. It would be tantamount to controlling computer programers.

I'm gonna buy them a Netflix subscription. (5, Funny)

Gulik (179693) | about 2 years ago | (#40639133)

Man. It's like these scientists have never even seen a horror movie.

Re:I'm gonna buy them a Netflix subscription. (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#40640483)

Or they have, but they've also watched Congress over the past 20 years and have patented a vaccine.

"Big things come from small beginnings." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639175)

"Big things come from small beginnings."

There was a reason why that gene died off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639309)

There was a reason why that gene died off. Just because you can does not mean you should. What's next lets put some Hitler DNA inside an embryo. Oh wait that was "Boys from Brazil"

Frankenfoods (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#40639357)

The local bacteriophages welcome their new frankenfood overlords.

Welcome them for dinner that is!

Bon appetit!

At least this is science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40639465)

I hate it when people say they are doing "evolutionary science" when what they are actually doing is history. Maybe in the days of natural philosophy conflating science and history was understandable, but we're supposed to have a clearer understanding of what we are doing now. Science requires experimentation, not speculation about stuff you dug up.

Re:At least this is science (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40640643)

Good grief. Where did you learn about science. "Experimentation" doesn't mean just a test tube. You can't, for instance, bottle up a mini galactic supercluster. What you do is you formulate a theory, some of it based on experimentation, a lot of it mathematical models, you make predictions and then you go to your telescopes and attempt to assess whether the predictions are correct or not. You're understanding of science is about that of a five year old.

Its all lies (5, Funny)

trevc (1471197) | about 2 years ago | (#40639517)

The world is only 6000 years old.

Re:Its all lies (2)

MrSenile (759314) | about 2 years ago | (#40640241)

On the same note, the bacteria didn't mutate into a fully grown person either, it mutated into... more bacteria...

I guess I need to ditch my science project of harvesting my intestines for bacteria and rapid-growing them into intelligent bipedal slave labour forces.

Bummer.

Re:Its all lies (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40640529)

I guess I need to ditch my science project of harvesting my intestines for bacteria and rapid-growing them into intelligent bipedal slave labour forces.

Dude! Kickstarter!

We are making it better, faster, stronger... Why!? (1)

lastrogue (1773302) | about 2 years ago | (#40640341)

Why are we making E. coli bacteria better faster and stronger? I suppose it could lead to implementing the same method in other species, mammals maybe even (which would have some pros and cons about them too). But is that leap in science something we want to make at the cost of making something stronger that could possibly damage humanity? It seems like the risks far out weigh what we would have to gain.

Did they buy it dinner first? (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40640501)

taken a gene from 500-million-year-old bacteria and inserted it into modern E. coli bacteria.

Well that's just rude.

conditional yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40640539)

Maybe. Who were you planning to cast in it?

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