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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Jul-Aug;42(4):285-311.

Adaptive mutation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Adaptive mutation is a generic term for processes that allow individual cells of nonproliferating cell populations to acquire advantageous mutations and thereby to overcome the strong selective pressure of proliferation-limiting environmental conditions. Prerequisites for an occurrence of adaptive mutation are that the selective conditions are nonlethal and that a restart of proliferation may be accomplished by some genetic change in principle. The importance of adaptive mutation is derived from the assumption that it may, on the one hand, result in an accelerated evolution of microorganisms and, on the other, in multicellular organisms may contribute to a breakout of somatic cells from negative growth regulation, i.e., to cancerogenesis. Most information on adaptive mutation in eukaryotes has been gained with the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This review focuses comprehensively on adaptive mutation in this organism and summarizes our current understanding of this issue.

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