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Biologists Watch Speciation in a Laboratory Flask

Biologists have discovered that the evolution of a new species can occur rapidly enough for them to observe the process in a simple laboratory flask.

In a month-long experiment using a virus harmless to humans, biologists working at the University of California San Diego and at Michigan State University documented the evolution of a virus into two incipient species—a process known as speciation that Charles Darwin proposed to explain the branching in the tree of life, where one species splits into two distinct species during evolution.