Evolution observed in the lab

... for the first time! And, amazingly, it's repeatable:
...Lenski turned to his freezer, where he had saved samples of each population every 500 generations. These allowed him to replay history from any starting point he chose, by reviving the bacteria and letting evolution "replay" again.

Would the same population evolve Cit+ again, he wondered, or would any of the 12 be equally likely to hit the jackpot?

The replays showed that even when he looked at trillions of cells, only the original population re-evolved Cit+ – and only when he started the replay from generation 20,000 or greater. Something, he concluded, must have happened around generation 20,000 that laid the groundwork for Cit+ to later evolve. [That's the one that God touched, of course! --Jason]

Lenski and his colleagues are now working to identify just what that earlier change was, and how it made the Cit+ mutation possible more than 10,000 generations later.

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