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Evolution Tests With Bacteria

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Evolution Tests With Bacteria

Postby Silverbackman » Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:14 pm

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 because bacteria evolve far faster than we do.
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Postby alextemplet » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:47 pm

Well, the evolution of drug resistance in bacteria is a well-documented proof of evolution. I don't know if anyone's ever studied it to that extent, but it'd be interesting if someone did. I'd like to know myself.
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Postby Silverbackman » Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:50 pm

It would be interesting to see evolution from one species to another, or even from one species to a different family, order, or class. That would prove evolution for sure. With bacteria, who have far faster generations I assume this can happen quickly.
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Postby alextemplet » Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:10 pm

I don't think there's any serious debate about proving evolution, at least not within the scientific community. Still, it would be interesting just to know how fast it can occur. I've read reports of researchers studying evolution in fish and insects, and they reported rates of evolutionary development thousands of times faster than the fastest transitions shown in the fossil record. Anti-evolutionists like to ask how can evolution work as fast as the fossil record seems to show, but perhaps the real question should be, why is it so slow? Maybe studying bacteria, since they reproduce so quickly and can be kept easily in a lab, would be an ideal way to shed some light on those questions.
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Postby Silverbackman » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:45 am

The concept many creationists and anti-evolutionists try to put forth is that there is no proof a organism can evolve no more than ethnicity. I think if we show creationists and anti-evolutionists that organisms can at least break the family or order barrier using life with far faster generations (like bacteria), then they will have nothing they can argue against evolution. When that occurs maybe they will shut their mouths about their myths. :)
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Postby alextemplet » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:40 am

Yes, that's true, but how do you define families and orders? The usual classification system used for macrorganisms doesn't work that well with microbes for a lot of reasons. Bacteria are also pretty simple organisms, so creationists would still claim that evolution can't produce human-like complexity. Either that or they'll just do what they always do and say that it's only microevolution, and they want to see macroevolution. It's rather absurd but that's probably how they'd react.
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Postby Silverbackman » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:10 am

By family and order I mean the traditional classification life. This is;

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species

Often times sub-groups are used too such as sub-family or sub-phylum.

Regardless on whether a creationist creates a counter argument, they will run out of things to attack it with. Even now after the overwhelming evidence for evolution they are starting to sound uber silly.

Bacteria are the first step. After bacteria we can always use macro-cell life with fast generations. Who knows maybe rats as well, since rats have pretty short generation (still nothing near bacteria).
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Re: Evolution Tests With Bacteria

Postby canalon » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:16 pm

Silverbackman wrote: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 because bacteria evolve far faster than we do.


I arrive a bit late, but the experiment you are interested in were made by Richard Lenski. As far as I know in 10000 bacterial generations (for 12 isolated populations) he ended up in some populations with genetic difference only slightly smaller than you find in different (but related) species). Knowing that definition of species in bacteria is not exactly straightforward.
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Postby Linn » Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:58 pm

Silverbackman wrote:The concept many creationists and anti-evolutionists try to put forth is that there is no proof a organism can evolve no more than ethnicity. I think if we show creationists and anti-evolutionists that organisms can at least break the family or order barrier using life with far faster generations (like bacteria), then they will have nothing they can argue against evolution. When that occurs maybe they will shut their mouths about their myths. :)


If I shut my mouth , then you will no longer be able to claim you have a theory since opposition strengthens theory no?
Lynne

Even when natural mutations occur in nature
such as found in a shark for example,
(like facial deformities)
they rarely survive. showing this is not an easy thing to happen.
deformities are usualy not for the improvement but a detriment to survival.
When they do survive a new kind of shark has evolved.
That is what scientists think happen with for example,
hammer head sharks.
But......... this is still a shark
What would you expect to see bacteria
evolve in to? a virus? or amoeba?genes are assembled in such a way as to resist change such as that.
surely it should have been recreated by now with all the scientific knowledge we have, and manipulation? how could it then ever happen naturally?
just some thoughts :)
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Postby 2810712 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:04 pm

I've a doubt before saying anything...
When talking of species in we use reproductive isolation...but for those non-sexually reproducing [ rather those who don't require 2 individuals for reproduction]...how do we define species? is it using conjugation/transductiopn/transformation/ etc. abilities...?

And in general how do we define genus,class,and hiararchies other than species...? Do we have adefinite genetic distance difined for them... or just depends upon the tree shape?



Please consider my dificulties.

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Postby alextemplet » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:21 pm

Linn, not all mutations are harmful, and the ones you're talking about are pretty major; evolution relies more on smaller changes. Anyway, there are numerous studies that have shown beneficial mutation/evolution happening at a surprising rate several thousand times faster than the fastest transitions shown in fossils. So we know for a fact that it can happen. One very common example is the ability of bacteria and viruses to evolve drug resistance, but studies have been done on larger organisms such as fish and insects as well. If you like I can look up some sources tonight and hopefully tomorrow I can give you a website or a reference so you don't have to just take my word for it.

Silverbackman, I know what classification system you're using, but how do you define what makes a family, order, class, etc.? In fact, I ask this question to anyone who can give an answer. I've heard plenty of definitions of species but never for a higher classification. Someone please answer this if you can because I'd really like to know.
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Postby Khaiy » Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:54 am

The reasoning for classifications above species are based on the same taxonomic model that species themselves are based on, they simply become more and more broad the higher up you go on the tree. For example, all eukaryotes share certain characteristics (like the presence of a proper nucleus), but there's still a large degree of difference as you get more specific (e.g. between a species of ant and a human).

But taxonomy is a bit outdated, as the original taxonomist (I forget his name, he was a priest quite a long time ago) based all of his classifications solely on physical traits observable with his naked eye. I heard something about a program to reclassify organisms according to genetic data, but I haven't heard anything about it for a while.

And as for evolutionary rates, bacteria lack a corrective mechanism during the reproduction of genetic material (as seen in humans, for example). This leads to many more genetic "stumbles" whenever bacteria reproduce. Coupled with the high reproductive rate of bacteria, and the mutation rate is staggering. While the vast, vast majority of these mutations are either not viable or irrelevant, they also produce a lot of beneficial changes as well.

Furthermore, bacteria can selectively take up plasmids left by other bacteria of the same species, which accelerates the spread of beneficial ones. These traits make them highly adaptable, and when given a pressure (like antibiotics, mentioned above) the evolution rate is huge.
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