Elucidating the molecular architecture of adaptation via evolve and resequence experiments

Nat Rev Genet. 2015 Oct;16(10):567-82. doi: 10.1038/nrg3937. Epub 2015 Sep 8.


Evolve and resequence (E&R) experiments use experimental evolution to adapt populations to a novel environment, then next-generation sequencing to analyse genetic changes. They enable molecular evolution to be monitored in real time on a genome-wide scale. Here, we review the field of E&R experiments across diverse systems, ranging from simple non-living RNA to bacteria, yeast and the complex multicellular organism Drosophila melanogaster. We explore how different evolutionary outcomes in these systems are largely consistent with common population genetics principles. Differences in outcomes across systems are largely explained by different starting population sizes, levels of pre-existing genetic variation, recombination rates and adaptive landscapes. We highlight emerging themes and inconsistencies that future experiments must address.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Biological Evolution
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetics, Microbial / methods
  • Genetics, Population / methods*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Mutation
  • RNA Folding
  • Selection, Genetic*