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Michigan State uses NSF grant to study evolution in action
Date:2/23/2010

Michigan State University announced today that it was awarded a $25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a center, bringing together scientists from across the nation to study evolution in action in both natural and virtual settings.

MSU has been awarded one of five highly coveted NSF Science and Technology Centers, officially titled "BEACON, an NSF Science and Technology Center for the Study of Evolution in Action." It will serve as a resource for academics and industry, performing basic research while helping create new technologies to solve real-world problems, ranging from the development of safer, more efficient cars to systems that detect computer intrusions.

BEACON is short for the "Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium." For more information, visit http://special.news.msu.edu/beacon or http://beacon.msu.edu.

"BEACON will conduct research on fundamental evolutionary dynamics in both natural and artificial systems," said Erik Goodman, MSU professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the center. "In addition, we will educate a generation of multidisciplinary scientists, and improve public understanding of evolution at all levels."

In contrast to evolutionary studies focusing on fossil records or comparison of DNA among species to discover common ancestry, BEACON will focus on evolution as an ongoing process, using real organisms in laboratories and at field sites, and using "digital organisms" undergoing real evolution on computers.

BEACON will involve more than 30 faculty researchers in MSU's College of Engineering, College of Natural Science, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Lyman Briggs College.

Four other universities will partner with MSU: North Carolina A&T State University, University of Idaho, University of Texas at Austin and University of Washing
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Contact: Tom Oswald
tom.oswald@ur.msu.edu
517-281-7129
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

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