The two new virus receptors
Take that, creationists:
Another nail in the coffins
of the anti-evolution crowd.
In a paper (Ecological Speciation of Bacteriophage Lambda in Allopatry and Sympatry) published in the journal Science at the end of November, Justin Meyer, an assistant professor of biology at UC San Diego, describes how his team was able to culture a virus bacteriophage lambda which attacks e. Coli bacteria via two receptors on e. Coli's cell walls.
Over a month they then introduced the virus to two types of bacteria that each had different receptors for the virus to use.
Very quickly the virus split into two distinct new forms, each suited to infecting one of the two types of bacteria.
The virus, over time and generations, evolved into two new species, each attacking the receptors on one of the two types of bacteria.
Meyer studied at Michigan State University under the legendary professor of microbial ecology Richard Lenski, who co-authored the paper.
Lenski gained fame when his ongoing experiment, which began in 1988, conclusively showed speciation in E. Coli bacteria. Lenski demonstrate that over time the bacteria could evolve into a new type that could grow using entirely new food sources.