Reducing the cost of resistance; experimental evolution in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans


Schoustra SE, Debets AJ, Slakhorst M, Hoekstra RF.

Date: 5 July 2006


We have studied compensatory evolution in a fludioxonil resistant mutant of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. In an evolution experiment lasting for 27 weeks (about 3000 cell cycles) 35 parallel strains of this mutant evolved in three different environmental conditions. Our results show a severe cost of resistance (56%) in the absence of fludioxonil and in all conditions the mutant strain was able to restore fitness without loss of the resistance. In several cases, the evolved strain reached a higher fitness than the original sensitive ancestor. Fitness compensation occurred in one, two or three discrete steps. Genetic analysis of crosses between different evolved strains and between evolved and ancestral strains revealed interaction between compensatory mutations and provided information on the number of loci involved in fitness compensation. In addition, we discuss the opportunities for the experimental study of evolutionary processes provided by the filamentous fungus A. nidulans.

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