Richard Lenski

Richard Lenski

Richard Lenski
Born (1956-08-13)August 13, 1956
Fields Evolutionary biology
Institutions Michigan State University
University of California, Irvine
Alma mater University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Oberlin College
Thesis Effects of competition and disturbance on ground beetle populations (1982)
Known for E. coli long-term evolution experiment
Notable awards Sewall Wright Award (2012)
MacArthur Fellowship (1996)

Richard E. Lenski (born August 13, 1956) is an American Avida.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • E. coli experiment 2.1
    • Avida simulation 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Early life

Richard E. Lenski is the son of sociologist Gerhard Lenski and poet Jean Lenski.[2] He is also the great-nephew of children's author Lois Lenski and the great-grandson of Lutheran commentator Richard C. H. Lenski. He earned his BA from Oberlin College in 1976, and his PhD from the University of North Carolina in 1982.[3]


Lenski won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1992 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1996, and in 2006 he was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences.

Lenski is a fellow at the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds the office Hannah Distinguished Professor of microbial ecology at Michigan State University. Lenski has an Erdős number of 3, having co-authored a publication with a mathematician and a computational biologist, each of whom has an Erdős number of 2.[4]

On February 17, 2010, he co-founded the NSF Science and Technology Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, known as the BEACON Center. In August 2013, having been inspired by a presentation by Titus Brown on the role of social media in science, Lenski began blogging at Telliamed Revisited and tweeting as @RELenski.[5]

E. coli experiment

The 12 evolving E. coli populations on June 25, 2008

The E. coli long-term evolution experiment is an ongoing study in experimental evolution led by Richard Lenski that has been tracking genetic changes in 12 initially identical populations of asexual Escherichia coli bacteria since 24 February 1988.[6] The populations reached the milestone of 50,000 generations in February 2010.

Since the experiment's inception, Lenski and his colleagues have reported a wide array of genetic changes; some evolutionary adaptations have occurred in all 12 populations, while others have only appeared in one or a few populations. One particularly striking adaptation was the evolution of a strain of E. coli that was able to use citric acid as a carbon source in an aerobic environment.[7]

Avida simulation

Richard Lenski,

  • Long-term Experimental evolution siteE. coli
  • BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action
  • News release from Michigan State University
  • The Loom : A New Step In Evolution

External links

  1. ^ "Richard Lenski".  
  2. ^ Photo of Richard Lenski and Gerhard Lenski for the father's 90th birthday Richard Lenski on Twitter. August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  3. ^ Campbell, Neil A.; Reece, Jane B. Biology (7 ed.). pp. 538–539.  
  4. ^ Richard Lenski (May 28, 2015). "Erdös with a non-kosher side of Bacon". 
  5. ^ Richard Lenski (August 19, 2013). "Welcome to Telliamed Revisited". 
  6. ^ Lenski, Richard E. (2000). "Source of founding strain". Richard E. Lenski Homepage. Michigan State University. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  7. ^ Blount, Zachary D.; Borland, Christina Z.; Lenski, Richard E. (2008). "Escherichia coli"Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105 (23): 7899–906.  
  8. ^ Lenski, R. E.;  
  9. ^ "Digital organisms used to confirm evolutionary process". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  10. ^ "Artificial life experiments show how complex functions can evolve". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  11. ^ Richard E. Lenski, Charles Ofria, Claus O. Wilke, Jia Lan Wang, & Christoph Adami (2001-07-19). "Evolution of digital organisms at high mutation rates leads to survival of the flattest". Nature 412 (6844): 331–3.