In this video (midway down the page), you can see white bacteria, in giant blocks of black agar, rapidly evolve to tolerate extremely lethal concentrations of anti-biotics!
“. . . it’s an uncommonly powerful visualization of evolution, and its role in the rise of superbugs. It also gives biologists a tool to better analyze how those superbugs develop. From the sound of it, this video is the first of many. “We plan on mapping all the different ways bacteria can become resistant, and using this to develop diagnostic tools that can foresee the future,” Kishony says. With that, physicians might learn more about how these pathogens evolve—and what we can do to stop them.”
The real-time involved was 11 days … with high-speed photography that animates real life in just seconds. The giant petri blocks were developed for Hollywood’s movie, “Contagion”… and only now is this technology being exploited to watch evolution in meaningfully compressed blocks of time!
While this is an excellent “real time” demonstration of genetic adaptation… I have designed a different approach … to see how well the “survivors” - - from four (4) different ramps - - reproduce with the other survivors!
I an earlier thread, I wondered what might be shown if two different kind of conditions were varied:
Instead of just an increasing gradient of antiobiotics … what if anti-biotics were one gradient, and acidity was another, perhaps? I’m no biologist, so I’m sure there are several factors to consider in such a test.
But that’s not all … what if instead of TWO populations starting … what if there were FOUR samples of the same population… and each one had to pass through a CIRCULAR course under the gaze of the camera?
Below is an example of ONE loop:
The bacteria would start in the yellow tray marked with an “X”. And it would proceed along the loop marked with an “A”. When it traversed through an increasingly more difficult environment, it would reach a partition, indicated by the thick green line.
The partition would remain in place while we waited for bacterial progression to make it through the other loops (not yet shown). Once the newly “hazed” bacterial populations had all reached the partitions, the partitions would be removed, and we would see what would happen with the COLLISION of FOUR (4) unique sub-populations of bacteria. The collision arena would be a second tray, suspended above the starting tray.
The entire apparatus of four loops would look like this:
With one or two loops dedicated to anti-biotic resistance, and the other loops dedicated to resistance to acidity, the target tray might be devoid of any antibiotic, and a benign level of acidity.
Which of these four variant populations would do better in the suddenly friendly environment? Which of the four sub-populations would be most compatible with each other?
I think this kind of research could really advance the field!!!