Applications Of Evolution To Real World Problems

Time for another document!

This time, some examples of how evolutionary processes are being applied to a range of real world applications, in order to produce solutions to various problems. I think several of the regulars will regard this one with special relish:

Learn how in vitro evolution has been applied to such matters as hydrogen production for replacing fossil fuels in vehicles, and the development of a prototype for a safe HIV vaccine. Also learn how evolutionary algorithms were pressed into service to “design” a spacecraft antenna, which was flown on a real space mission and worked. Finally, enjoy seeing Joyce’s paper Darwinian Evolution On A Chip presented in full, and its ramifications for RNA World research.


I’ve had an idea for using evolution as a tool to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

There are bacteriophage viruses that have been used to treat bacterial infections in many Eastern Bloc countries.

Practicality is limited, as the bacteriophage has to be perfectly matched to the bacteria that is causing the infection.

I wonder if I could cultivate a bacterial culture that is only similar to the bacteria causing the infection, expose this culture to the bacteriophage, then expose the culture to very moderate ionizing radiation, with the idea of causing haphazard random mutations in the bacteriophage virus.

Now, take a sample of the bacteriophages from this culture, and put it in a culture of the bacteria that is infecting the patient.

The idea is that there will be countless millions of virus particles with random mutations so, hopefully, a few may be able to infect the target bacteria. They will be the ones that survive, and then multiply.

So, we now have a bacteriophage that can infect the target bacteria, so we can administer it to the patient.

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SO … you want me to grow mold out of my body while I’m stuck to the fridge???



Sure . . . although I wonder which part of your body is stuck to the fridge.


A better way of generating mutant bacteriophages, would be to subject the genomes thereof to replication using an error-prone polymerase, then inject the mutant DNA into your chosen bacteria, and let the bacteria themselves manufacture the mutant bacteriophages for you. In the age of CRISPR-Cas9 manipulation of the genome, this wouldn’t require a lot of effort in the laboratory. :slight_smile:

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Or you could just pray it goes away, just saying… :innocent:

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