Parallel adaptive evolution cultures of Escherichia coli lead to convergent growth phenotypes with different gene expression states

Genome Res. 2005 Oct;15(10):1365-72. doi: 10.1101/gr.3832305.


Laboratory evolution can be used to address fundamental questions about adaptation to selection pressures and, ultimately, the process of evolution. In this study, we investigated the reproducibility of growth phenotypes and global gene expression states during adaptive evolution. The results from parallel, replicate adaptive evolution experiments of Escherichia coli K-12 MG1655 grown on either lactate or glycerol minimal media showed that (1) growth phenotypes at the endpoint of evolution are convergent and reproducible; (2) endpoints of evolution have different underlying gene expression states; and (3) the evolutionary gene expression response involves a large number of compensatory expression changes and a smaller number of adaptively beneficial expression changes common across evolution strains. Gene expression changes initially showed a large number of differentially expressed genes in response to an environmental change followed by a return of most genes to a baseline expression level, leaving a relatively small set of differentially expressed genes at the endpoint that varied between evolved populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Messenger