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Creators/Authors contains: "Nguyen Ba, Alex N."

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  1. A genome-spanning fitness landscape reveals how idiosyncratic genetic interactions lead to global epistatic patterns. 
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  2. Mapping the genetic basis of complex traits is critical to uncovering the biological mechanisms that underlie disease and other phenotypes. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in humans and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in model organisms can now explain much of the observed heritability in many traits, allowing us to predict phenotype from genotype. However, constraints on power due to statistical confounders in large GWAS and smaller sample sizes in QTL studies still limit our ability to resolve numerous small-effect variants, map them to causal genes, identify pleiotropic effects across multiple traits, and infer non-additive interactions between loci (epistasis). Here, we introduce barcoded bulk quantitative trait locus (BB-QTL) mapping, which allows us to construct, genotype, and phenotype 100,000 offspring of a budding yeast cross, two orders of magnitude larger than the previous state of the art. We use this panel to map the genetic basis of eighteen complex traits, finding that the genetic architecture of these traits involves hundreds of small-effect loci densely spaced throughout the genome, many with widespread pleiotropic effects across multiple traits. Epistasis plays a central role, with thousands of interactions that provide insight into genetic networks. By dramatically increasing sample size, BB-QTL mapping demonstrates the potential of natural variants in high-powered QTL studies to reveal the highly polygenic, pleiotropic, and epistatic architecture of complex traits. 
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  3. Evolutionary adaptation to a constant environment is driven by the accumulation of mutations which can have a range of unrealized pleiotropic effects in other environments. These pleiotropic consequences of adaptation can influence the emergence of specialists or generalists, and are critical for evolution in temporally or spatially fluctuating environments. While many experiments have examined the pleiotropic effects of adaptation at a snapshot in time, very few have observed the dynamics by which these effects emerge and evolve. Here, we propagated hundreds of diploid and haploid laboratory budding yeast populations in each of three environments, and then assayed their fitness in multiple environments over 1000 generations of evolution. We find that replicate populations evolved in the same condition share common patterns of pleiotropic effects across other environments, which emerge within the first several hundred generations of evolution. However, we also find dynamic and environment-specific variability within these trends: variability in pleiotropic effects tends to increase over time, with the extent of variability depending on the evolution environment. These results suggest shifting and overlapping contributions of chance and contingency to the pleiotropic effects of adaptation, which could influence evolutionary trajectories in complex environments that fluctuate across space and time. 
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  4. Abstract Spontaneous whole-genome duplication, or autodiploidization, is a common route to adaptation in experimental evolution of haploid budding yeast populations. The rate at which autodiploids fix in these populations appears to vary across strain backgrounds, but the genetic basis of these differences remains poorly characterized. Here, we show that the frequency of autodiploidization differs dramatically between two closely related laboratory strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, BY4741 and W303. To investigate the genetic basis of this difference, we crossed these strains to generate hundreds of unique F1 segregants and tested the tendency of each segregant to autodiplodize across hundreds of generations of laboratory evolution. We find that variants in the SSD1 gene are the primary genetic determinant of differences in autodiploidization. We then used multiple laboratory and wild strains of S. cerevisiae to show that clonal populations of strains with a functional copy of SSD1 autodiploidize more frequently in evolution experiments, while knocking out this gene or replacing it with the W303 allele reduces autodiploidization propensity across all genetic backgrounds tested. These results suggest a potential strategy for modifying rates of spontaneous whole-genome duplications in laboratory evolution experiments in haploid budding yeast. They may also have relevance to other settings in which eukaryotic genome stability plays an important role, such as biomanufacturing and the treatment of pathogenic fungal diseases and cancers. 
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  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. 
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  6. Abstract

    Ecologists have long studied the evolution of niche breadth, including how variability in environments can drive the evolution of specialism and generalism. This concept is of particular interest in viruses, where niche breadth evolution may explain viral disease emergence, or underlie the potential for therapeutic measures like phage therapy. Despite the significance and potential applications of virus–host interactions, the genetic determinants of niche breadth evolution remain underexplored in many bacteriophages. In this study, we present the results of an evolution experiment with a model bacteriophage system,Escherichia virus T4,in several host environments: exposure toEscherichia coliC, exposure toE. coliK‐12, and exposure to bothE. coliC andE. coliK‐12. This experimental framework allowed us to investigate the phenotypic and molecular manifestations of niche breadth evolution. First, we show that selection on different hosts led to measurable changes in phage productivity in all experimental populations. Second, whole—genome sequencing of experimental populations revealed signatures of selection. Finally, clear and consistent patterns emerged across the host environments, especially the presence of new mutations in phage structural genes—genes encoding proteins that provide morphological and biophysical integrity to a virus. A comparison of mutations found across functional gene categories revealed that structural genes acquired significantly more mutations than other categories. Our findings suggest that structural genes are central determinants in bacteriophage niche breadth.

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