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Evolution Tests With Bacteria

  1. Feb 26, 2006 #1
    Because Bacteria evolve far faster than humans, bacteria would be ideal for testing evolution. If you isolate one bacteria population from another after a while they should evolve into different species, right?

    Actually, I have heard this test has already been carried out but is this true?

    If so, how far has the isolated bacteria evolved? Have they evolved into different species and maybe even into different families of bacteria? Who knows, maybe even a different order or class?

    If this hasn't been tested, why hasn't it? This is the best way to prove evolution beyond the species, genus, family, order, class ect. barrier because bacteria evolve far faster than we do. This will definitely shut the creationists and anti-evolutionists up.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2006 #2


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    In terms of frequency, bacteria slightly evolve faster than human. They seem to evolve faster because their generation time is much quicker.

    So to answer your question, theoritically yes but it depends on how you decide to define a species. In general, defining a specie is very difficult. With bacteria, it is more difficult because we cannot rely on the phenotype, we have to look at genetic markers such as 16s rRNA and species-specific markers.

    Speciation experiment have been done with fruit flies but as far as I know also simple evolution experiment have been done with bacteria. For the fruit flies only the species level was cross.

    For bacteria, the experiment of Luria and Delbruck in 1943 is often one of the cited experiment. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luria-Delbruck_experiment)
    We also know that some pathogenic bacteria that are kept in the lab and were passage on artificial media several times are now non-pathogenic.

    Again, it is not that easy to design an experiment that will cause a new species to arise because it is often a matter of definition. To show that specification has occur, several criteria will have to be met such as losing or gaining some genetic material resulting in a new phenotype, and significant change in species specific markers.

    One of the best example of recent speciation in bacteria is Yersinia pestis which evolved from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.
  4. Feb 27, 2006 #3


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    Related link...
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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