The Promise and Peril of Continuous In Vitro Evolution
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- Johns, G.C. & Joyce, G.F. J Mol Evol (2005) 61: 253. doi:10.1007/s00239-004-0307-1
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Experimental evolution methods can be used to address and illuminate issues central to the understanding of evolutionary theory. One of the most powerful of these methods involves the in vitro evolution of nucleic acid enzymes, taking advantage of the direct relationship between the genotype of a nucleic acid sequence and the phenotype of its associated catalytic function. This review and commentary focuses on the past, present, and future potential of systems for the continuous in vitro evolution of nucleic acid enzymes as tools for modeling evolutionary processes in biology. It offers a candid appraisal of both the strengths and the limitations of these systems.