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Science. 2016 Sep 9;353(6304):1147-51. doi: 10.1126/science.aag0822.

Spatiotemporal microbial evolution on antibiotic landscapes.

Author information

1
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
2
Faculty of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
3
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Faculty of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. Faculty of Computer Science, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. rkishony@technion.ac.il.

Abstract

A key aspect of bacterial survival is the ability to evolve while migrating across spatially varying environmental challenges. Laboratory experiments, however, often study evolution in well-mixed systems. Here, we introduce an experimental device, the microbial evolution and growth arena (MEGA)-plate, in which bacteria spread and evolved on a large antibiotic landscape (120 × 60 centimeters) that allowed visual observation of mutation and selection in a migrating bacterial front. While resistance increased consistently, multiple coexisting lineages diversified both phenotypically and genotypically. Analyzing mutants at and behind the propagating front, we found that evolution is not always led by the most resistant mutants; highly resistant mutants may be trapped behind more sensitive lineages. The MEGA-plate provides a versatile platform for studying microbial adaption and directly visualizing evolutionary dynamics.

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PMID:
27609891
PMCID:
PMC5534434
DOI:
10.1126/science.aag0822
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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