E. Coli Forced To Evolve: Old Bacterium Learns New Trick

E. Coli bacteria have been forced to "learn" to survive, according to a story published in February in Science. The general method was remarkably similar to a technique used by award-winning sf author Theodore Sturgeon in his classic 1941 story Microcosmic God.

The laboratory of George Georgiou, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at UT Austin, used mutant bacteria which were unable to make disulfide bonds. This capability was essential in order to make the flagellum, the waving "paddle" that helps them move around. Placed in a dish of food, they faced certain death if they were unable to move around after exhausting the food they could reach.

Like nature, grad student Lluis Masip made random alterations in the bacteria's DNA and then subjected thousands to the "swim-or-starve" test. Surprisingly, at least one mutant survived by spontaneously creating a new form of disulfide bond that allowed it to survive.

In his story, Sturgeon made use of tiny creatures called Neoterics to solve problems for his protagonist, who put them under life-and-death pressure to force them to work for him. Just wait until Prof. Georgiou decides to use something a little smarter than a bacterium!

See also Researchers Successfully Force Evolutionary Leap; Findings Have Ramifications for Biotechnology Industry and Biotech, Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Software: Evolution Caught in The Act for more details.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/17/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' -

Worms Eat Plastic Now
'Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased...' - Davis/Pedlar, 1971.

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.' - Peter Watts, 1999.

NASA's Prototype Lunar Greenhouse For Mars And Moon
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Will A Steel Umbrella Stop Russia?
'Everyone was aware that the damned platform was wandering around in its own orbit...'

EVE Artificial Womb For Lambs (For Now)
'In the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones...'

TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'

Bees Royal Jelly Helps Wounds Heal Faster
'An alien drug... used by an insect race.'

NASA Wants To Make Oxygen On Mars
'They plop down on the Red and if the dust is deep enough ... they burrow in...'

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

X2-VelociRoACH Cooperates To Launch Tiny Drones
Little robots cooperating can do big tasks. Eventually.

'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?
'I want my lawyer program.'

MULTI Model Of Star Trek Turbolift
Cool prototype video!

A Look Into The Future Of Spacecraft!
Ever wonder how you look when you enter a new part of a spacecraft?

An 'Ethical Black Box' For Robots?
Explored by science fiction authors.

Dadbot Digital Immortality
'A hardwired ROM cassette replicating a dead man's skills...'

Should We Permit Computers To Create Their Own Language?
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Breakthrough Starshot Sprites Yearn For Alpha Centauri
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon...'

Kino Project Roaming Personal Fashion Robots
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'

Astronaut Exercise Video, Predicted By SF Writers
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.