Instead, the researchers observed almost the opposite. They found that JCVI-syn3B actually had an exceptionally high mutation rate. compared to the original M. mycoides– The strain, the new strain evolved 39 percent faster and regained all the fitness it lost when researchers artificially removed many of its genes: When evolutionary biologists combined the evolved cells with small “new” cells, the evolved bacteria took over the new ones. They have now adapted to their surroundings.
In contrast to the wild type, the transgene-reduced cells barely increased in size over the course of 300 days. The researchers think this may be due to the fact that half of the membrane proteins were removed. Perhaps the cell lacked the resources to increase its size.
There are still many unanswered questions, such as which genes evolved and why. But the results show that natural selection is powerful enough to improve even the simplest single-celled organisms. “Life appears to be more powerful than is commonly believed,” said JT Lennon, a study co-author and professor in the Department of Biology at Indiana University. According to a press release. “We can strip the cell of the essentials, but that doesn’t stop evolution from doing its job. Life finds its way.
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