Adaptive Prediction Emerges Over Short Evolutionary Time Scales

Genome Biol Evol. 2017 Jun 1;9(6):1616-1623. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evx116.


Adaptive prediction is a capability of diverse organisms, including microbes, to sense a cue and prepare in advance to deal with a future environmental challenge. Here, we investigated the timeframe over which adaptive prediction emerges when an organism encounters an environment with novel structure. We subjected yeast to laboratory evolution in a novel environment with repetitive, coupled exposures to a neutral chemical cue (caffeine), followed by a sublethal dose of a toxin (5-FOA), with an interspersed requirement for uracil prototrophy to counter-select mutants that gained constitutive 5-FOA resistance. We demonstrate the remarkable ability of yeast to internalize a novel environmental pattern within 50-150 generations by adaptively predicting 5-FOA stress upon sensing caffeine. We also demonstrate how novel environmental structure can be internalized by coupling two unrelated response networks, such as the response to caffeine and signaling-mediated conditional peroxisomal localization of proteins.

Keywords: adaptive prediction; conditioned fitness; peroxisomal translocation; structured environments; variant analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Caffeine / pharmacology
  • Genetic Fitness
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Caffeine