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Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Humans are accelerating the rate of evolution in species ranging from viruses and bacteria to agricultural pests. The consequences, such as drug-resistant pathogens, and insecticide and herbicide-resistant insects and weeds are costing at least US $50 billion per year in the US alone, says new research. "What is missing among the general public is a perception that evolution impacts our daily life," says Stephen Palumbi of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Evolution is a continuous process that is particularly rapid among organisms that mutate and reproduce frequently.

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