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Can Organisms Evolve The Ability To Evolve?


Can things evolve to evolve? Okay, so that sounds like a cheesy line from a self-help book, but what I'm talking about here is actual biological evolution. Depending on the situation, evolution is obviously able to drive the development of traits like rapid cooling, camouflaging color, or fecundity. But one team of U.S. biologists got to wondering whether quick evolution itself was a trait selected for by evolution.

At least in microbes, flexibility and "evolvability" really are selected for, the team found in a study. The study, the team says, offers the first direct evidence of this happening.

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