In episode 61 of MicrobeWorld Video, filmed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting in Vancouver, Canada on February 17th, 2012, Dr. Stan Maloy talks with Richard Lenski Ph.D., Hannah Professor of Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, about his research into the evolution of bacteria and the new frontier of digital evolution.
Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment with E. coli has seen over 50,000 new generations since its inception in 1998. This has led to insights such as how viruses can evolve from types that don’t infect humans to ones that do. Lenski’s work with E. coli has also led him into the digital world.
Using computers, Lenski can achieve precise, rapid results by manipulating digital organisms. Software that evolves much like bacteria in the real world. Lenski is optimistic about the future of evolution research. Applying the generalities that have resulted from his studies to any number of other microbial species. He also sees large potential in applying what he’s learned to the study of antibiotic resistance and bioengery.