Microbial laboratory evolution in the era of genome-scale science

Tom M. Conrad, Nathan E. Lewis, Bernhard O. Palsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

204 Citations (Scopus)


Laboratory evolution studies provide fundamental biological insight through direct observation of the evolution process. They not only enable testing of evolutionary theory and principles, but also have applications to metabolic engineering and human health. Genome-scale tools are revolutionizing studies of laboratory evolution by providing complete determination of the genetic basis of adaptation and the changes in the organism's gene expression state. Here, we review studies centered on four central themes of laboratory evolution studies: (1) the genetic basis of adaptation; (2) the importance of mutations to genes that encode regulatory hubs; (3) the view of adaptive evolution as an optimization process; and (4) the dynamics with which laboratory populations evolve.

Original languageEnglish
Article number509
JournalMolecular Systems Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Other keywords

  • epistasis
  • flux-balance analysis
  • metabolic engineering
  • mutation
  • regulatory hub


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