Michael McDonald: Adaptation in recombining experimental populations of microbes, and the repeatability of evolution

  • Date: Aug 8, 2018
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Dr. Michael J. McDonald (School of Biological Sciences Faculty of Science Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
  • More information on the speaker can be found here: https://www.monash.edu/science/schools/biological-sciences/staff2/michael-mcdonald
  • Location: MPI Plön
  • Room: Lecture hall
  • Host: Paul Rainey


Experimental evolution is a powerful method for testing fundamental questions in evolution and ecology. I will present a detailed view of the genetics and fitness changes that occur in adapting populations of E. coli and yeast. In both studies, we carry out whole population sequencing at multiple time points, allowing the tracking of the dynamics of each mutation as it arises during adaptation. Using this sequencing-across-time approach I will show that new evolutionary lineages emerge spontaneously, even in simple experiments, and demonstrate how recombination fundamentally changes (and speeds up) adaptation. I will also present ongoing work using the bacteria H. pylori as a model for studying recombination and horizontal gene transfer.

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