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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Test tube evolution

Science Daily: New Synthetic Enzimes Undergo "Evolution in a Test Tube".

The system was devised to improve computer designed enzymes and the result was astonishing: only 7 "generations" were needed to improve the efficiency of the artificially adaptative trait 200-fold!!!

The researches designed an enzyme that could remove a proton from carbon atoms and, in order to make it at least as good as natural occurring ones, evolution had to be activated artifically. Therefore random mutations were induced into the artificial enzyme and only those that produced the best result were allowed to "survive" and "reproduce". Only 7 rounds of this process multiplied the effectivity by 200.

I infer from this, that under high selective pressure, the relevant adaptations can become dominant and refined in very few generations.

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