The complex and dynamic genomes of industrial yeasts

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Apr;293(1):1-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01480.x. Epub 2009 Jan 17.


The Saccharomyces sensu stricto genus contains many species that are industrially important for fermentation of wines, beers and ales. The molecular characterization of the genomes of yeasts involved in these processes reveals that the majority arose from interspecific hybridization between two and sometimes three yeast species. The hybridization events generated allopolyploid genomes, and subsequent recombination events between the parental genomes resulted in the formation of mosaic chromosomes. The polyploid and hybrid nature of the genomes confers robust characteristics such as tolerance to environmental stress to these industrial yeasts and provides a means for adaptive evolution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Beer / microbiology*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Fungal*
  • Industrial Microbiology*
  • Polyploidy
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Saccharomyces / classification*
  • Saccharomyces / genetics*
  • Wine / microbiology*