The LTEE ran for over 32 years and more than 73,000 generations, without missing a beat. Then this stupid coronavirus came along and made me shut down the lab and stop the experiment. Well, I think it’s high time for everyone to return to the lab and get back to work.
We’ve wasted a hell of a lot of time here. The LTEE lines were frozen on March 9th. That’s 23 days ago, for crying out loud. Do you know how many generations have been lost? With 100-fold daily dilution and regrowth, that’s ~6.7 generations per day. So we’ve already lost over 150 generations. And with 12 populations that’s a net loss of more than 1,800 generations.
Another way of looking at it is that each population produces around half a billion new cells each day. So that’s 23 x 12 x 500,000,000 cells that went missing. You get the picture, that’s a sh*t-load (a technical term for those of us who study E. coli) of baby bacteria that never got born!
I’ve gotten in enough trouble already with a certain crowd for our claim to have observed evolution. If they find out we’ve denied these adorable baby bacteria their existence, there’s no telling what letters they might send me.
Plus, speaking as a scientist, I have this premonition that something really big would have happened during those missing generations. I’ve been expecting them to evolve the ability to produce palladium from citrate. They could then use the palladium for cold fusion, which would surely get some attention. Stupid virus!
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s back to work I go. I sure hope you have a nice day at home.