Recent advances in the evolutionary engineering of industrial biocatalysts

Genomics. 2014 Dec;104(6 Pt A):406-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2014.09.006. Epub 2014 Sep 28.


Evolutionary engineering has been used to improve key industrial strain traits, such as carbon source utilization, tolerance to adverse environmental conditions, and resistance to chemical inhibitors, for many decades due to its technical simplicity and effectiveness. The lack of need for prior genetic knowledge underlying the phenotypes of interest makes this a powerful approach for strain development for even species with minimal genotypic information. While the basic experimental procedure for laboratory adaptive evolution has remained broadly similar for many years, a range of recent advances show promise for improving the experimental workflows for evolutionary engineering by accelerating the pace of evolution, simplifying the analysis of evolved mutants, and providing new ways of linking desirable phenotypes to selectable characteristics. This review aims to highlight some of these recent advances and discuss how they may be used to improve industrially relevant microbial phenotypes.

Keywords: Adaptation; Automation; Complex phenotypes; Evolutionary engineering; Mutagenesis; Selection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biocatalysis
  • Bioreactors
  • Directed Molecular Evolution*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Fitness
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Industrial Microbiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Systems Biology