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Trends Genet. 2013 May;29(5):309-17. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Saccharomyces diversity and evolution: a budding model genus.

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Laboratory of Genetics, Genome Center of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the best-understood and most powerful genetic model systems. Several disciplines are now converging to turn Saccharomyces into an exciting model genus for evolutionary genetics and genomics. Yeast taxonomists and ecologists have dramatically expanded and clarified Saccharomyces diversity, more than doubling the number of bona fide species since 2000. High-quality genome sequences are available (or soon will be) for all seven known species. Haploid laboratory strains are enabling a deep integration of classic genetic approaches with modern genomic tools. Population genomic surveys and quantitative trait mapping of variation within species are underway across the genus. Finally, several case studies have illuminated general and novel genetic mechanisms of evolution. Expanding strain collections, low-cost genome sequencing, and tools for precise genetic manipulation promise to usher in a golden era for this surprisingly diverse genus as an evolutionary model.

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