A Whole Population of Unicorns in the Lab

For several weeks I have been meaning to read up on Lenski et al‘s 20-year test tube experiment, in which they observed the rise of novel, beneficial traits in populations of bacteria they stored in a closet. It’s interesting to me because (if I read the summaries right) only some of the test tubes evolved the traits, which suggests an interesting contingency in evolution. I love ragged ass evolution.

The research is interesting to the folks at Conservapedia because they don’t like anything that purports to demonstrate evolution. Because they are intelligent design supporters. Or, as this nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy researcher puts it, an “army of homeschooled numbnuts”. Now now. So they sent some letters demanding to see the data. The correspondence is well documented elsewhere, but I wanted to draw attention to this particular reference from Lenski, made after some goading from the conservapedia crowd:

(Read the whole damn thing on conservapedia itself if you want)

“It is my impression that you seem to think we have only paper and electronic records of having seen some unusual E. coli. If we made serious errors or misrepresentations, you would surely like to find them in those records. If we did not, then – as some of your acolytes have suggested – you might assert that our records are themselves untrustworthy because, well, because you said so, I guess. But perhaps because you did not bother even to read our paper, or perhaps because you aren’t very bright, you seem not to understand that we have the actual, living bacteria that exhibit the properties reported in our paper, including both the ancestral strain used to start this long-term experiment and its evolved citrate-using descendants. In other words, it’s not that we claim to have glimpsed “a unicorn in the garden” – we have a whole population of them living in my lab! And lest you accuse me further of fraud, I do not literally mean that we have unicorns in the lab. Rather, I am making a literary allusion.”


informatii interesante si utile postate pe blogul dumneavoastra. dar ca si o paranteza , ce parere aveti de inchirierea apartamente vacanta ?.

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Thanks, I have been hunting for details about this subject for ages and yours is the best I ave found so far.

Sounds like anything plenty of forty somethings and beyond ought to study. The feelings of neglect is there in a lot of levels every time a single ends the mountain.

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