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  1. Abstract

    As organisms evolve, the effects of mutations change as a result of epistatic interactions with other mutations accumulated along the line of descent. This can lead to shifts in adaptability or robustness that ultimately shape subsequent evolution. Here, we review recent advances in measuring, modeling, and predicting epistasis along evolutionary trajectories, both in microbial cells and single proteins. We focus on simple patterns of global epistasis that emerge in this data, in which the effects of mutations can be predicted by a small number of variables. The emergence of these patterns offers promise for efforts to model epistasis and predict evolution.

  2. Abstract

    Random DNA barcodes are a versatile tool for tracking cell lineages, with applications ranging from development to cancer to evolution. Here, we review and critically evaluate barcode designs as well as methods of barcode sequencing and initial processing of barcode data. We first demonstrate how various barcode design decisions affect data quality and propose a new design that balances all considerations that we are currently aware of. We then discuss various options for the preparation of barcode sequencing libraries, including inline indices and Unique Molecular Identifiers (UMIs). Finally, we test the performance of several established and new bioinformatic pipelines for the extraction of barcodes from raw sequencing reads and for error correction. We find that both alignment and regular expression-based approaches work well for barcode extraction, and that error-correction pipelines designed specifically for barcode data are superior to generic ones. Overall, this review will help researchers to approach their barcoding experiments in a deliberate and systematic way.

  3. Schwartz, Russell (Ed.)
    Science students increasingly need programming and data science skills to be competitive in the modern workforce. However, at our university (San Francisco State University), until recently, almost no biology, biochemistry, and chemistry students (from here bio/chem students) completed a minor in computer science. To change this, a new minor in computing applications, which is informally known as the Promoting Inclusivity in Computing (PINC) minor, was established in 2016. Here, we present the lessons we learned from our experience in a set of 10 rules. The first 3 rules focus on setting up the program so that it interests students in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. Rules 4 through 8 focus on how the classes of the program are taught to make them interesting for our students and to provide the students with the support they need. The last 2 rules are about what happens “behind the scenes” of running a program with many people from several departments involved.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 14, 2023
  4. Over the past two decades, several broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) that confer protection against diverse influenza strains have been isolated. Structural and biochemical characterization of these bnAbs has provided molecular insight into how they bind distinct antigens. However, our understanding of the evolutionary pathways leading to bnAbs, and thus how best to elicit them, remains limited. Here, we measure equilibrium dissociation constants of combinatorially complete mutational libraries for two naturally isolated influenza bnAbs (CR9114, 16 heavy-chain mutations; CR6261, 11 heavy-chain mutations), reconstructing all possible evolutionary intermediates back to the unmutated germline sequences. We find that these two libraries exhibit strikingly different patterns of breadth: while many variants of CR6261 display moderate affinity to diverse antigens, those of CR9114 display appreciable affinity only in specific, nested combinations. By examining the extensive pairwise and higher order epistasis between mutations, we find key sites with strong synergistic interactions that are highly similar across antigens for CR6261 and different for CR9114. Together, these features of the binding affinity landscapes strongly favor sequential acquisition of affinity to diverse antigens for CR9114, while the acquisition of breadth to more similar antigens for CR6261 is less constrained. These results, if generalizable to other bnAbs, may explain themore »molecular basis for the widespread observation that sequential exposure favors greater breadth, and such mechanistic insight will be essential for predicting and eliciting broadly protective immune responses.« less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Laboratory experimental evolution provides a window into the details of the evolutionary process. To investigate the consequences of long-term adaptation, we evolved 205 Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations (124 haploid and 81 diploid) for ~10,000 generations in three environments. We measured the dynamics of fitness changes over time, finding repeatable patterns of declining adaptability. Sequencing revealed that this phenotypic adaptation is coupled with a steady accumulation of mutations, widespread genetic parallelism, and historical contingency. In contrast to long-term evolution in E. coli , we do not observe long-term coexistence or populations with highly elevated mutation rates. We find that evolution in diploid populations involves both fixation of heterozygous mutations and frequent loss-of-heterozygosity events. Together, these results help distinguish aspects of evolutionary dynamics that are likely to be general features of adaptation across many systems from those that are specific to individual organisms and environmental conditions.
  6. Natural selection drives populations toward higher fitness, but second-order selection for adaptability and mutational robustness can also influence evolution. In many microbial systems, diminishing-returns epistasis contributes to a tendency for more-fit genotypes to be less adaptable, but no analogous patterns for robustness are known. To understand how robustness varies across genotypes, we measure the fitness effects of hundreds of individual insertion mutations in a panel of yeast strains. We find that more-fit strains are less robust: They have distributions of fitness effects with lower mean and higher variance. These differences arise because many mutations have more strongly deleterious effects in faster-growing strains. This negative correlation between fitness and robustness implies that second-order selection for robustness will tend to conflict with first-order selection for fitness.