3 years ago

Experimental evolution of Bacillus subtilis

Wayne L. Nicholson, Daniel R. Zeigler
The endospore-forming bacteria have persisted on earth perhaps 3Ga, leveraging the flexibility of their distinctive lifestyle to adapt to a remarkably wide range of environments. This process of adaptation can be investigated through the simple but powerful technique of laboratory evolution. Evolved strains can be analyzed by whole genome sequencing and an array of omics technologies. The intensively studied, genetically tractable endospore-former, Bacillus subtilis, is an ideal subject for laboratory evolution experiments. Here, we describe the use of the B. subtilis model system to study the adaptation of these bacteria to reduced and stringent selection for endospore formation, as well as to novel environmental challenges of low atmospheric pressure, high ultraviolet radiation, and unfavourable growth temperatures. In combination with other approaches, including comparative genomics and environmental field work, laboratory evolution may help elucidate how these bacteria have so successfully adapted to life on earth, and perhaps beyond.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13831

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