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Experimental Studies of Pleiotropy and Epistasis in Escherichia coli. II. Compensation for Maldaptive Effects Associated with Resistance to Virus T4

Richard E. Lenski
Evolution
Vol. 42, No. 3 (May, 1988), pp. 433-440
DOI: 10.2307/2409029
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409029
Page Count: 8
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Experimental Studies of Pleiotropy and Epistasis in Escherichia coli. II. Compensation for Maldaptive Effects Associated with Resistance to Virus T4
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Abstract

Mutations in Escherichia coli that confer resistance to virus T4 also have maladaptive effects that reduce competitive fitness. After resistant populations had evolved for 400 generations in the absence of T4, their fitness approached that of sensitive populations allowed to evolve under identical conditions. However, the resistant populations had not reverted to sensitivity. Instead, this convergence in fitness resulted from genetic changes that compensated for maladaptive pleiotropic effects of the resistance mutations. An allele selected in an evolving resistant population reduced the competitive disadvantage associated with resistance by almost half. Interestingly, this allele was also beneficial in sensitive populations, although its fitness advantage was only about one-fifth as great as it was in the resistant population. These results run counter to a commonly held view that trade-offs between components of fitness should become more pronounced as populations approach their "selective equilibria." If a trade-off derives from some limiting energetic or material currency, then it is likely to become more pronounced as a population becomes more finely adapted. If a trade-off derives from the disruption of genetic integration, then it is likely to be diminished with further adaptation.

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