Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - First lab demonstration that the ability to evolve can itself evolve->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "Research on Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, shows that the capacity to evolve can itself be the target of natural selection.
B. burgfdorferi can cause a chronic infection even if its animal host mounts a strong immune response — evading those defences by tweaking the shape and expression of its main surface antigen, VIsE. A series of unexpressed genetic sequences organized into ‘cassettes’ recombine with the VIsE gene, changing the resulting protein such that it escapes detection by the host’s immune system.
The researchers studied the molecular evolution of the cassettes’ genetic sequences in 12 strains of B. burgdorferi. They found that natural selection seemed to favour bacteria with more genetic variability within their cassettes, and hence a greater capacity to generate different versions of the antigen.
“Greater diversity among the cassettes in itself shouldn’t be a selective advantage considering they aren’t expressed and don’t do anything else,” says lead author Dustin Brisson. “But we did find evidence of selection, so the question is what else could it be for besides evolvability?”"

Link to Original Source
This discussion was created for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

First lab demonstration that the ability to evolve can itself evolve

Comments Filter:

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

Working...