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The evolutionary impact of sexual reproduction across 5,000 generations of yeast and its application to engineer ethanol tolerant strains


Why did sex evolve if organisms could multiply simply by copying themselves? This question represents one of the most tenacious problems in evolutionary biology. Historically, the major focus of debate has been the benefits that sex might confer on an individual or a species. Essentially, sexual reproduction is a shuffle of parental genomes to segregate in the offspring a varied collection of genes. If genetic variability lies at the heart of the sex phenomenon, why not focus precisely on a careful scrutiny of such sex-driven genomic diversity? This project will use next-generation sequencing to survey DNA variations comparatively across genomes of sexual versus asexual evolving populations. Three sexual and three clonal populations of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces japonicus will be propagated in parallel for one year and nine months (~5,000 generations) by serial transfers to ethanol-containing media (the selective environment). Sporulation (meiosis) will be induced once a week in sexual populations, while periodic fitness and competitions assays will measure across populations their comparative evolutionary adaptations to ethanol stress. During the evolution, ongoing genetic variability will be mapped every six months by sequencing genomes of sexual and asexual lines. In a similar protocol genetic variability will be monitored in the sexual Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain PE-2, evolving under fermentation of sugarcane molasses. By mapping genome evolution of both sexual and clonal lines this project will generate a comprehensive comparative description of sexual versus asexual evolution, providing a new means of investigating the evolutionary advantages of sex and its potential application to develop industrial yeast strains. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
JACOBUS, ANA PAULA; GROSS, JEFERSON. Optimal Cloning of PCR Fragments by Homologous Recombination in Escherichia coli. PLoS One, v. 10, n. 3, . (13/15743-9)
JACOBUS, ANA PAULA; STEPHENS, TIMOTHY G.; YOUSSEF, PIERRE; GONZALEZ-PECH, RAUL; CICCOTOSTO-CAMP, MICHAEL M.; DOUGAN, KATHERINE E.; CHEN, YIBI; BASSO, LUIZ CARLOS; FRAZZON, JEVERSON; CHAN, CHEONG XIN; et al. Comparative Genomics Supports That Brazilian Bioethanol Saccharomyces cerevisiae Comprise a Unified Group of Domesticated Strains Related to Cachaca Spirit Yeasts. FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, v. 12, . (17/24453-5, 13/15743-9, 18/15159-9)

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