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Hidden paths to endless forms most wonderful: Complexity of bacterial motility shapes diversification of latent phenotypes

Abstract : Background Evolution in one selective environment often latently generates phenotypic change that is manifested only later in different environments, but the complexity of behavior important to fitness in the original environment might influence the character of such latent-phenotype evolution. Using Myxococcus xanthus, a bacterium possessing two motility systems differing in effectiveness on hard vs. soft surfaces, we test (i) whether and how evolution while swarming on one surface—the selective surface—latently alters motility on the alternative surface type and (ii) whether patterns of such latent-phenotype evolution depend on the complexity of ancestral motility, specific ancestral motility genotypes and/or the selective surface of evolution. We analysze an experiment in which populations established from three ancestral genotypes—one with both motility systems intact and two others with one system debilitated—evolved while swarming across either hard or soft agar in six evolutionary treatments. We then compare motility-phenotype patterns across selective vs. alternative surface types. Results Latent motility evolution was pervasive but varied in character as a function of the presence of one or two functional motility systems and, for some individual-treatment comparisons, the specific ancestral genotype and/or selective surface. Swarming rates on alternative vs. selective surfaces were positively correlated generally among populations with one functional motility system but not among those with two. This suggests that opportunities for pleiotropy and epistasis generated by increased genetic complexity underlying behavior can alter the character of latent-phenotype evolution. No tradeoff between motility performance across surface types was detected in the dual-system treatments, even after adaptation on a surface on which one motility system dominates strongly over the other in driving movement, but latent-phenotype evolution was instead idiosyncratic in these treatments. We further find that the magnitude of stochastic diversification at alternative-surface swarming among replicate populations greatly exceeded diversification of selective-surface swarming within some treatments and varied across treatments. Conclusion Collectively, our results suggest that increases in the genetic and mechanistic complexity of behavior can increase the complexity of latent-phenotype evolution outcomes and illustrate that diversification manifested during evolution in one environment can be augmented greatly by diversification of latent phenotypes manifested later.
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Contributor : Olaya Rendueles <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 6:40:12 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 13, 2020 - 3:22:42 AM


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Olaya Rendueles, Gregory Velicer. Hidden paths to endless forms most wonderful: Complexity of bacterial motility shapes diversification of latent phenotypes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, BioMed Central, 2020, 20 (1), pp.145. ⟨10.1186/s12862-020-01707-3⟩. ⟨pasteur-02991082⟩



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