Constraints on microbial metabolism drive evolutionary diversification in homogeneous environments

  • Gudelj I
  • Beardmore R
  • Arkin S
 et al. 
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Understanding the evolution of microbial diversity is an important and current problem in evolutionary ecology. In this paper, we investigated the role of two established biochemical trade-offs in microbial diversification using a model that connects ecological and evolutionary processes with fundamental aspects of biochemistry. The trade-offs that we investigated are as follows:(1) a trade-off between the rate and affinity of substrate transport; and (2) a trade-off between the rate and yield of ATP production. Our model shows that these biochemical trade-offs can drive evolutionary diversification under the simplest possible ecological conditions: a homogeneous environment containing a single limiting resource. We argue that the results of a number of microbial selection experiments are consistent with the predictions of our model.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biochemical trade-offs
  • Chemostat
  • Ecology
  • Experimental evolution
  • Mathematical model
  • Micro-organisms

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  • I. Gudelj

  • R. E. Beardmore

  • S. S. Arkin

  • R. C. Maclean

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