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Directed Evolution: E. coli gets off the couch, becomes an extremophile

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Can you create an extremophile? The microbes living and thriving at the fringes of the biosphere manage to get by in spite of extreme temperatures, radiation levels, and pressures (did I miss any?) that most other life forms would choke on. But how easy would it be for an organism that prospers in the warm embrace of our digestive tract to make a change in lifestyle and become an extremophile? Pretty easy, as it turns out.

One of the latest papers in mBio describes a directed evolution experiment that got Escherichia coli to develop the ability to survive exposure to high pressure. Over a very short evolutionary time scale, E. coli evolved to resist pressures as high as 2 Gpa ā€“ about three times the pressure it originally tolerated.
Click the link above to read more on mBio's blog, mBiosphere...
 
 

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