Evaluating evolutionary models of stress-induced mutagenesis in bacteria

Nat Rev Genet. 2013 Mar;14(3):221-7. doi: 10.1038/nrg3415. Epub 2013 Feb 12.


Increased mutation rates under stress allow bacterial populations to adapt rapidly to stressors, including antibiotics. Here we evaluate existing models for the evolution of stress-induced mutagenesis and present a new model arguing that it evolves as a result of a complex interplay between direct selection for increased stress tolerance, second-order selection for increased evolvability and genetic drift. Further progress in our understanding of the evolutionary biology of stress and mutagenesis will require a more detailed understanding both of the patterns of stress encountered by bacteria in nature and of the mutations that are produced under stress.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological / genetics
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Drift
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Mutation Rate
  • Phenotype
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Stress, Physiological*