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Oops! The big advance in the evolution case seems to be falling apart

The Culture

An influential scientific discovery that was once celebrated as compelling evidence for evolution may require reinterpretation, according to a growing number of scientists and researchers.

In 2008, biologist Richard Lenski of Michigan State University jubilantly announced that he had witnessed a “major evolutionary innovation.” Lenski, as part of his Long-Term Experimental Evolution (LTEE) project, had been carefully observing the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) reproduce in a lab. Finally, after 20 years and 31,000 E. coli generations, Lenski noticed that one of the bacteria populations had seemingly mutated and acquired the ability to process the chemical citrate when oxygen was present.

Lenski detailed his findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and claimed that the E. coli development was a “fascinating case of evolution in action.” Other sources described the discovery as “dramatic” and “profound.”

“Lenski’s experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists,” reported the website NewScientist.com. The site also quoted evolution promoter Jerry Coyne as saying, “The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events. That’s just what creationists say can’t happen.”

Later, in a 2011 article in Microbe Magazine, Lenski wrote a “salute to Charles Darwin” and asserted that his LTEE project confirmed Darwin’s ideas. Then, in a 2012 journal article published in Nature, Lenski again drew attention to the supposed evolution of the E. coli bacteria, stating that the ability to process citrate was “a novel trait” made possible by evolution.

This article continues at [Christian News] Scientists Beginning to Doubt Discovery Once Touted as Evidence for Evolution

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