Accelerating bacterial growth

28. Aug. 2015 • Biologické vedy

Accelerating bacterial growth

Interestingly, bacterial growth can be accelerated even after 27 years and even if it is the 50 thousandth generation of bacteria.

In 1988, Richard Lenski started a scientific experiment to examine the process of evolution. He inoculated 12 bacterial cultures. Every 24 hours, when the bacteria ran out of nutrients, he removed a part of the cultures and moved them to another test-tube with fresh water, allowing them to continue growing. He expected some bacteria to mutate and start growing faster, outgrowing the other bacteria in the test-tube and causing the test-tube to contain faster bacteria the next day. Every 75 days, he removed a little more of the cultures and froze a part of them. There wouldn’t be anything strange about this, except the fact that to this day, there are people in his laboratory doing the same thing. The experiment has been going on for 27 years. Since they have samples in the freezers, by unfreezing them, the workers can measure exactly how the speed of growth, size and genetics changed. Their scientific articles are like crime stories about how bacteria learned to process citrate in 2000, how bacteria started rapidly mutating in the 90s, but especially about their growth, which is, although only by a little bit, still accelerating.

This issue may be studied in the field of:

Evolutionary biology


Author: Marta Dravecká, IST Austria


Published by: ZČ

Translation: Dorota Jagnešáková

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