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Darwin by the numbers
German biophysicist Max Delbrück and Italian microbiologist Salvador Luria publish an article in the journal Genetics entitled ”Mutations of bacteria from virus sensitivity to virus resistance.” The article reports on research conducted with bacteriophage (a virus that infects bacterial cells). Delbrück and Luria’s investigations establish, by statistical means, the Darwinian hypothesis that viral resistance in E. coli bacteria can result from random mutations, as well as (possibly) being induced by contact between virus and bacteria. A decade later, Joshua Lederberg reports experimental evidence that confirms Delbrück and Luria’s finding, and indicates, further, that viral resistance is not a physiological adaptation to exposure.