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Reinterpreting Long-Term Evolution Experiments: Is Delayed Adaptation an Example of Historical Contingency or a Consequence of Intermittent Selection?


Van Hofwegen et al. demonstrated that Escherichia coli rapidly evolves the ability to use citrate when long selective periods are provided (D. J. Van Hofwegen, C. J. Hovde, and S. A. Minnich, J Bacteriol 198:1022-1034, 2016, This contrasts with the extreme delay (15 years of daily transfers) seen in the long-term evolution experiments of Lenski and coworkers. Their idea of "historical contingency" may require reinterpretation. Rapid evolution seems to involve selection for duplications of the whole cit locus that are too unstable to contribute when selection is provided in short pulses.

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