Size matters: Population size and adaptation in bacteria
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, India
Population size is known to be a major determinant of evolutionary outcomes in microbes. In general, larger microbial populations adapt faster and better to their environments. However, is there a cost to evolving in larger population sizes? We addressed this question by experimentally evolving E. coli laboratory populations of different sizes under various conditions. We found that adapting in larger sizes typically leads to fitness costs under constant environments, but not under fluctuating ones. We then used numerical simulations and genome sequencing to investigate various aspects of this issue.
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