Richard E. Lenski

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We followed evolutionary change in 12 populations of Escherichia coli propagated for 10,000 generations in identical environments. Both morphology (cell size) and fitness (measured in competition with the ancestor) evolved rapidly for the first 2000 generations or so after the populations were introduced into the experimental environment, but both were(More)
The relationship between rates of genomic evolution and organismal adaptation remains uncertain, despite considerable interest. The feasibility of obtaining genome sequences from experimentally evolving populations offers the opportunity to investigate this relationship with new precision. Here we sequence genomes sampled through 40,000 generations from a(More)
In sexual populations, beneficial mutations that occur in different lineages may be recombined into a single lineage. In asexual populations, however, clones that carry such alternative beneficial mutations compete with one another and, thereby, interfere with the expected progression of a given mutation to fixation. From theoretical exploration of such(More)
Microorganisms have been mutating and evolving on Earth for billions of years. Now, a field of research has developed around the idea of using microorganisms to study evolution in action. Controlled and replicated experiments are using viruses, bacteria and yeast to investigate how their genomes and phenotypic properties evolve over hundreds and even(More)
Epistatic interactions between mutations play a prominent role in evolutionary theories. Many studies have found that epistasis is widespread, but they have rarely considered beneficial mutations. We analyzed the effects of epistasis on fitness for the first five mutations to fix in an experimental population of Escherichia coli. Epistasis depended on the(More)
The contributions of adaptation, chance, and history to the evolution of fitness and cell size were measured in two separate experiments using bacteria. In both experiments, populations propagated in identical environments achieved similar fitnesses, regardless of prior history or subsequent chance events. In contrast, the evolution of cell size, a trait(More)
The role of historical contingency in evolution has been much debated, but rarely tested. Twelve initially identical populations of Escherichia coli were founded in 1988 to investigate this issue. They have since evolved in a glucose-limited medium that also contains citrate, which E. coli cannot use as a carbon source under oxic conditions. No population(More)
A long-standing challenge to evolutionary theory has been whether it can explain the origin of complex organismal features. We examined this issue using digital organisms--computer programs that self-replicate, mutate, compete and evolve. Populations of digital organisms often evolved the ability to perform complex logic functions requiring the coordinated(More)
Most mutations are likely to be deleterious, and so the spontaneous mutation rate is generally held at a very low value. Nonetheless, evolutionary theory predicts that high mutation rates can evolve under certain circumstances. Empirical observations have previously been limited to short-term studies of the fates of mutator strains deliberately introduced(More)
Darwinian evolution favours genotypes with high replication rates, a process called 'survival of the fittest'. However, knowing the replication rate of each individual genotype may not suffice to predict the eventual survivor, even in an asexual population. According to quasi-species theory, selection favours the cloud of genotypes, interconnected by(More)