Species evolve to the brink of evolution

Ξ October 24th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Science |


      A biologist at The University of Texas at Austin has presented a new theory that sheds light on how organisms, including viruses like HIV, rapidly evolve in the face of vaccines and antibiotics.

      Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers says the new model could help identify genes that increase a pathogen's ability to evolve quickly against immune responses. Knowing those genes could help scientists develop new and better vaccines.

      Meyers' model predicts that populations can evolve "genetic potential" genes that can create new traits quickly and simply in changing environments.

      "In fluctuating environments, you may get populations evolving right to the brink of evolution," says Meyers. The organisms are poised to evolve in the face of environmental shifts, because they have genes that can produce a new trait essential to their survival with one or two simple mutations."

       

 

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