Sept 30, 2010 — A long-running experiment trying to get fruit flies to evolve has failed.  A research team forced selection on the flies to explore the limits of natural selection.  Only minor changes were detected after 600 generations.  The research team was disappointed and surprised; there was even less evolution in these sexual organisms than in similar experiments with microbes, like bacteria and yeast (but see 07/12/2010).  And all this was under ideal lab conditions.  Success is even less likely in the wild.

The Editor’s summary of a paper in Nature was titled, “Experimental evolution reveals resistance to change” and ended that the authors “conclude that unconditionally advantageous alleles rarely arise, are associated with small net fitness gains, or cannot fix because selection coefficients change over time.  Nature this week published the results of a 35-year study by UC Irvine and University of Southern California (USC).  Here is the abstract…

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