An anonymous reader writes "C|Net is carrying a story about some research out of Rice University. They are exploring the possibility that we can predict the evolution of a species, given environmental factors." From the article: "Typically, the bacteria can continue to thrive when the temperature hits 73 degrees Celsius (163 degrees Fahrenheit). The experimental strain of bacteria contained a mutated version of a gene that, in the naturally occurring strain of the microbe, produces a protein that made existence possible. They then put these mutant strains in environments where the temperature rose slowly but steadily, and studied how different generations coped with the changing temperature. In the breeding that followed, millions of new mutations of the gene in question were produced, but only about 700 of those variants replicated some of the functionality of the naturally occurring gene."