Press Release 11-055
Some Outcomes of the Evolutionary Race Buck Conventional Wisdom
Organisms focusing on long-term mutations survive while others focusing on short-term fitness gains go extinct
March 22, 2011
View a video with Richard Lenski of Michigan State University.
For broadcasters: Sound bites are available as SD .mov files from Stephen McNally at (703) 292-8365 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In some cases, less fit organisms may out-survive their in-shape counterparts, according to a study reported in the March 18 issue of Science. The finding surprised researchers who assumed less fit organisms would be the eventual losers in evolution's fight for survival.
Microbial Ecology professor Richard Lenski of Michigan State University conducted the study with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Using easy-to-understand terms in a revealing video accompanying this release, Lenski describes his results and explains why his study is so unique.
"This remarkable long-term study continues to yield surprises, providing unprecedented detail on the richness and complexity of evolution," said Saran Twombly, a program manager in NSF's Division of Biological Infrastructure. "In this case, experiments reveal how and why the tradeoff between long-term success and short-term gain confers evolutionary success, providing evidence of a compromise long theorized to exist."
Lily Whiteman, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-8310, email@example.com
Layne Cameron, Michigan State University, (517) 353-8819, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saran Twombly, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-8133, email@example.com
Richard Lenski, Michigan State University, (517) 884-5397, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan State University press release on the study: http://news.msu.edu/story/9096/
Richard Lenski's essay and interview in NSF's Evolution of Evolution Special Report: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/darwin/bio.jsp
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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