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Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Jun;4(6):457-69.

Evolution experiments with microorganisms: the dynamics and genetic bases of adaptation.

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Instituto de BiologĂ­a Molecular y Celular de Plantas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientĂ­ficas, 46022 Valencia, Spain.


Microorganisms have been mutating and evolving on Earth for billions of years. Now, a field of research has developed around the idea of using microorganisms to study evolution in action. Controlled and replicated experiments are using viruses, bacteria and yeast to investigate how their genomes and phenotypic properties evolve over hundreds and even thousands of generations. Here, we examine the dynamics of evolutionary adaptation, the genetic bases of adaptation, tradeoffs and the environmental specificity of adaptation, the origin and evolutionary consequences of mutators, and the process of drift decay in very small populations.

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