More members of the scientific community have expressed doubts over an experiment involving bacteria that supposedly proves that evolution indeed happens among living creatures.
The experiment in question was conducted in 2008 by Richard Lenski of Michigan State University as part of his Long-Term Experimental Evolution (LTEE) project. He claimed to have discovered for the first time how the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) supposedly mutated and acquired the ability to process the chemical citrate when oxygen was present.
Lenski's experiment was celebrated by evolutionists, and even got published on the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." The scientist called it a "major evolutionary innovation" and a "fascinating case of evolution in action."
Six years after this supposed discovery, Lenski's brainchild is slowly being debunked by his fellow scientists.
In a journal article published in the American Society for Microbiology, for instance, a team of biologists from the University of Idaho explained that Lenski's evolution claim can be explained some other way.
The biologists said the ability to process citrate was not derived by the bacteria from evolution, but from the introduction of oxygen in its environment.
"We conclude that the rarity of the LTEE mutant was an artifact of the experimental conditions and not a unique evolutionary event," the researchers wrote, as quoted by Christian News. "No new genetic information (novel gene function) evolved."
Further eroding Lenski's supposed key discovery is a finding by Christian molecular geneticist, Dr. Georgia Purdom with Answers in Genesis, showing that the bacteria in the earlier experiment did not change its genetic makeup—a key indication that evolution did not take place.
"This was definitely not any kind of speciation event," he wrote on his blog in reference to the E. coli adaptations. "Instead, the same genetic changes seen in the LTEE were achieved repeatedly after a short amount of time. This tells us that the ability to use citrate in the presence of oxygen is the result of adaptive mutation, as predicted by Dr. Purdom nearly eight years ago."