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‘Darwin chip’ brings evolution into the classroom

April 15, 2008
clipped from www.newscientist.com
A new “Darwin chip” could make evolution as easy as pressing play.
Researchers have created an automated device that evolves a biological molecule on a chip filled with hundreds of miniature chambers.
The molecule, which stitches together strands of RNA, became 90 times more efficient after just 70 hours of evolution.
And by demonstrating natural selection in real-time, the device could also help dispel doubts over evolution in the classroom and beyond, says Joyce. “There’s a whole bunch of people who think evolution is only theory, including some former presidential candidates.”
The device might be able to evolve better sensors to detect environmental pollutants such as lead, Paegal says.
“We took a potato and made a really tasty potato,” says Pagael. “But we would really like to discover broccoli – something completely different.”
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