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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Dec 10;99(25):16144-9. Epub 2002 Nov 21.

Characteristic genome rearrangements in experimental evolution of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Genetics, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Genome rearrangements, especially amplifications and deletions, have regularly been observed as responses to sustained application of the same strong selective pressure in microbial populations growing in continuous culture. We studied eight strains of budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) isolated after 100-500 generations of growth in glucose-limited chemostats. Changes in DNA copy number were assessed at single-gene resolution by using DNA microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization. Six of these evolved strains were aneuploid as the result of gross chromosomal rearrangements. Most of the aneuploid regions were the result of translocations, including three instances of a shared breakpoint on chromosome 14 immediately adjacent to CIT1, which encodes the citrate synthase that performs a key regulated step in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Three strains had amplifications in a region of chromosome 4 that includes the high-affinity hexose transporters; one of these also had the aforementioned chromosome 14 break. Three strains had extensive overlapping deletions of the right arm of chromosome 15. Further analysis showed that each of these genome rearrangements was bounded by transposon-related sequences at the breakpoints. The observation of repeated, independent, but nevertheless very similar, chromosomal rearrangements in response to persistent selection of growing cells parallels the genome rearrangements that characteristically accompany tumor progression.

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