Saturday, March 19, 2011

Slow evolvers win in the end

Published online 17 March 2011 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2011.166

By Joseph Milton

In Aesop's fable about the tortoise's victory over the hare, a slow, steady approach trumps a fast and impulsive one. And when it comes to evolution — for bacteria, at any rate — a leisurely pace may also be the best strategy for long-term survival.
Research carried out in Richard Lenski's lab at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and published today in Science 1, shows that rapidly evolving 'hare' bacteria were eventually wiped out by their more sluggish rivals. The reason was that the 'tortoise' bacteria had a higher 'evolvability', or a greater potential to take advantage of future beneficial mutations, than their speedier competitors, despite a tendency to accumulate such mutations at a slower rate. Story here

No comments: