Long-term survival during stationary phase: evolution and the GASP phenotype

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Feb;4(2):113-20. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1340.


The traditional view of the stationary phase of the bacterial life cycle, obtained using standard laboratory culture practices, although useful, might not always provide us with the complete picture. Here, the traditional three phases of the bacterial life cycle are expanded to include two additional phases: death phase and long-term stationary phase. In many natural environments, bacteria probably exist in conditions more akin to those of long-term stationary-phase cultures, in which the expression of a wide variety of stress-response genes and alternative metabolic pathways is essential for survival. Furthermore, stressful environments can result in selection for mutants that express the growth advantage in stationary phase (GASP) phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • SOS Response, Genetics
  • Selection, Genetic