Image_1_Genetic Adaptation to Growth Under Laboratory Conditions in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica.pdf

Experimental evolution under controlled laboratory conditions is becoming increasingly important to address various evolutionary questions, including, for example, the dynamics and mechanisms of genetic adaptation to different growth and stress conditions. In such experiments, mutations typically appear that increase the fitness under the conditions tested (medium adaptation), but that are not necessarily of interest for the specific research question. Here, we have identified mutations that appeared during serial passage of E. coli and S. enterica in four different and commonly used laboratory media and measured the relative competitive fitness and maximum growth rate of 111 genetically re-constituted strains, carrying different single and multiple mutations. Little overlap was found between the mutations that were selected in the two species and the different media, implying that adaptation occurs via different genetic pathways. Furthermore, we show that commonly occurring adaptive mutations can generate undesired genetic variation in a population and reduce the accuracy of competition experiments. However, by introducing media adaptation mutations with large effects into the parental strain that was used for the evolution experiment, the variation (standard deviation) was decreased 10-fold, and it was possible to measure fitness differences between two competitors as small as |s| < 0.001.