BEACON

MSU News, Sep 19 2012

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has documented the step-by-step process in which organisms evolve new functions.

The results, published in the current issue of Nature, are revealed through an in-depth, genomics-based analysis that decodes how E. coli bacteria figured out how to supplement a traditional diet of glucose with an extra course of citrate.

MSU News, Aug 29 2012

Michigan State University researchers have created "promiscuous" computer programs in a virtual world called Avida, to model how real world biological mate attraction plays out.

MSU News, Aug 10 2012

Why, after millions of years of evolution, do organisms build structures that seemingly serve no purpose?

A study conducted at Michigan State University and published in the current issue of The American Naturalist investigates the evolutionary reasons why organisms go through developmental stages that appear unnecessary.

MSU News, Aug 8 2012

Innovative problem solving can mean trying something different from the norm. That’s true for humans, and now Michigan State University researchers show that it’s true for hyenas, too.

MSU News, Aug 7 2012

Dividing tasks among different individuals is a more efficient way to get things done, whether you are an ant, a honeybee or a human.

A new study by researchers at Michigan State University’s BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action suggests that this efficiency may also explain a key transition in evolutionary history, from single-celled to multi-celled organisms.

MSU News, Jul 27 2012

In the animal kingdom, huge weapons such as elk antlers or ornaments like peacock feathers are sexy. Their extreme size attracts potential mates and warns away lesser rivals.

MSU News, Jan 26 2012

In the current issue of Science, researchers at Michigan State University demonstrate how a new virus evolves, which sheds light on how easy it can be for diseases to gain dangerous mutations.

MSU News, Nov 21 2011

Research by a team of Michigan State University scientists has shed new light on why some body parts are more sensitive to environmental change than others, work that could someday lead to better ways of treating a variety of diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

The research, led by assistant zoology professor Alexander Shingleton, is detailed in the recent issue of the Proceedings of the Library of Science Genetics.

You are about to enter another dimension, a journey into a land where robotic animals evolve before your eyes. As these new creatures come marching, swarming, swimming, and crawling toward you, you may feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of the old TV show The Twilight Zone. But you are in the evolutionary robotics laboratory in Michigan State University’s Engineering Building, where Professor Philip McKinley and his team are at work on a research project that is multidisciplinary and truly multidimensional -- 3-D to be exact.

There are many old wives’ tales about what determines a baby’s sex, yet it is the tight controls at the gene level which determine an organism’s sex in most species. Researchers at Michigan State University have found that even when genetic and genomic mechanisms are disrupted, organisms quickly evolve ways to compensate.