There's one obvious reason why it's easier for a species to survive a gradual environmental change than a sudden one: more individuals stay alive when change is gradual or moderate, meaning there are more chances for a winning mutation to emerge.
Scientists have shown that similar - or even identical - mutations can take place in completely separate populations of E. coli evolving in different environments over more than 1,000 generations.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are attempting to repeat the path of evolution by taking a gene from an ancient organism and watching it evolve.
An international team of scientists has embarked on an ambitious research project to develop an in vivo biological cell that can be reprogrammed like a computer operating system.
Scientists have taken another step towards biological computing, with the creation of logic gates from gut bacteria and DNA.
MIT and Harvard researchers say they can edit the genetic code of a living cell, allowing them to give cells new functions such as building proteins not found in nature, or engineering bacteria that are resistant to any viral infection.
A team at the University of California has successfuly implanted E coli bacteria with the key molecular circuitry to act as computers.