between adaptability and mutation rate (grey mesh)
and observed evolution of Avida digital organisms.
electrophoresis of a site-directed mutagenesis
reaction using viroids.
Predicted RNA secondary structure for a
region of CChMVd. Natural variability is shown in
Experimental evolution is aimed at testing
evolutionary hypotheses under controlled
conditions. As such, it can help us to disentangle
the contribution of different evolutionary
processes. Cultured viruses, bacteria, yeast, or
even higher eukaryotes with sufficiently short
generation times can be used as model systems.
Serial transfers of these organisms are performed in
the lab under a variety of conditions, including
different population sizes, physical environments,
transmission modes, or mutation rates. Typically, we
estimate biological fitness using growth rates or
competition assays, but other parameters (e.g.
virulence) can be studied as well.
several molecular biology techniques, including
RT-PCR, in vitro replication, sequencing, molecular
cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, or chemical
mutagenesis, as well as microbiological and cellular
biology basic techniques (cell culturing, monoclonal
antibody production, viral transfers).
Comparing species is the classical approach in
biology. However, this has not very often been
combined with experimentation. One of our main
research goals is to compare the evolutionary
properties of different species, including their
ability to generate genetic variation, adapt to
novel environments, tolerate deleterious mutations,
or evolve new functional capabilities, in the
biology and modeling
computational tools for phylogenetic analysis,
statistical analysis, modeling, prediction of
RNA secondary structures, or digital evolution.