Understanding how organisms with simplified genomes overcome evolutionary challenges has important implications for long-standing problems in biology—including the treatment of clinical pathogens, the persistence of host-associated endosymbionts, the refinement of engineered microorganisms, and the origin of life itself. The research done by Lennon and his team demonstrates the power of natural selection to rapidly optimize fitness in the simplest autonomous organism, with implications for the evolution of cellular complexity. In other words, it shows that life finds a way.