1147: Evolving

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Biologists play reverse Pokémon, trying to avoid putting any one team member on the front lines long enough for the experience to cause evolution.
Title text: Biologists play reverse Pokémon, trying to avoid putting any one team member on the front lines long enough for the experience to cause evolution.


In Pokemon, a highly popular game series, the protagonist goes out in search for the eponymous creatures. Many of Pokemon can be found directly in the wild, but there are also a lot of Pokemon that require training and growth, to cause them to "evolve" into new Pokemon. "Evolve" (the game's term) is a misnomer (which had earned itself quite some controversy in the past). In reality, when applied to Pokemon, "evolution" is more akin to puberty or metamorphosis, since, instead of the entire species of Pokemon acquiring changes throughout an extended period of time, one specific member of the species grows instantly to the "higher stage." (To be more specific, the Pokemon glows before transforming into the new form, then stops glowing.) The changes can be quite dramatic...or not.

This comic depicts the "evolution" of a bacteria as observed by a Biologist in the same format as the game Pokemon. Here we have Staphylococcus Aureus, which is not a desirable bacterium (it causes Staph infections) which evolves into "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus". Methicillin is an anti-biotic. If the bacteria becomes resistant, it means the anti-biotic will not kill the bacteria, and infections become harder to treat. Thus, the observer is not pleased with such an evolution.

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[bacterial cell culture]
Staphylococcus Aureus is evolving!
Off-screen: Aww, crap.
Staphylococcus Aureus evolved into Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus!

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Bacteria can indeed "instantly" evolve within a generation instead of waiting for its descendents. It's called horizontal gene transfer and it's the primary mechanism for the propagation of antibiotic resistance. --Prooffreader (talk) 13:07, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Its sentences like that which make Microbiologists my heros. DanB (talk) 14:25, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Should there be a reference to Arceus (the "ultimate creator Pokémon") here? I do not mean this for making a joke; I just thought that the coincidence can be appropriate here, since the bacteria is called "Aureus". Greyson (talk) 15:48, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

The evolved form looks the same to me. -- 07:54, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Because the difference is internal, in antibiotic resistance --JakubNarebski (talk) 11:56, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

The first external link (to the Cephas Ministry tract) seems to be broken. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

When biologists make some sort of drug to counter this, I REALLY hope they call it "The Everstone" 12:08, 6 January 2016 (UTC) C

Actually the title text is a valid traning method in Pokemon, called switch-training.We keep a weaker 'Mon in the front, then switch out to stronger one to defeat the Opponent, gaining split Exp.So, Those Microbiologists will still have their bacteria evolving, but at a slower rate. 11:04, 1 January 2017 (UTC)