Adaptive laboratory evolution--harnessing the power of biology for metabolic engineering

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2011 Aug;22(4):590-4. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2011.03.007. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


Adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) strategies allow for the metabolic engineering of microorganisms by combining genetic variation with the selection of beneficial mutations in an unbiased fashion. These ALE strategies have been proven highly effective in the optimization of production strains. In contrast to rational engineering strategies and directed modification of specific enzymes, ALE has the advantage of letting nonintuitive beneficial mutations occur in many different genes and regulatory regions in parallel. So far, the majority of applications of ALE in metabolic engineering have used well-characterized platform organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli; however, applications for other microorganisms are on the rise. This review will focus on current applications of ALE as a tool for metabolic engineering and discuss advancements and achievements that have been made in this field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Directed Molecular Evolution*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*