Article ID: CBB475403283

The Experimental Study of Bacterial Evolution and Its Implications for the Modern Synthesis of Evolutionary Biology (2018)

unapi

Since the 1940s, microbiologists, biochemists and population geneticists have experimented with the genetic mechanisms of microorganisms in order to investigate evolutionary processes. These evolutionary studies of bacteria and other microorganisms gained some recognition from the standard-bearers of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology, especially Theodosius Dobzhansky and Ledyard Stebbins. A further period of post-synthesis bacterial evolutionary research occurred between the 1950s and 1980s. These experimental analyses focused on the evolution of population and genetic structure, the adaptive gain of new functions, and the evolutionary consequences of competition dynamics. This large body of research aimed to make evolutionary theory testable and predictive, by giving it mechanistic underpinnings. Although evolutionary microbiologists promoted bacterial experiments as methodologically advantageous and a source of general insight into evolution, they also acknowledged the biological differences of bacteria. My historical overview concludes with reflections on what bacterial evolutionary research achieved in this period, and its implications for the still-developing modern synthesis.

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Authors & Contributors
Smocovitis, Vassiliki Betty
Delisle, Richard G.
Echeverria, Begona
Brito da Cunha, A.
Meer, Jitse M. van der
Rudge, David Wÿss
Journals
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of the History of Biology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Biology and Philosophy
Studies in History of Biology
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Publishers
Cornell University
University of California, Riverside
Concepts
Evolution
Modern Synthesis (biology)
Biology
Genetics
Darwinism
Biographies
People
Dobzhansky, Theodosius
Huxley, Julian Sorell
Stebbins, George Ledyard
Simpson, George Gaylord
Rensch, Bernhard
Rensch, Bernhard Carl Emmanuel
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
Places
United States
Brazil
Germany
Soviet Union
Institutions
Rockefeller Foundation
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