Experimental Microbial Evolution of Extremophiles

Paul Blum, Deepak Rudrappa, Raghuveer Singh, Samuel McCarthy, Benjamin Pavlik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Experimental microbial evolution (EME) and its variant, adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE), are emerging empirical strategies for understanding fundamental biological processes in microbes. Integration of high throughput analytical methods combined with genetic selection leverage the power of these methods, particularly ALE, for the production of new biological traits while providing insight into their mechanistic basis. Though traditionally applied to model organisms, in this chapter, these methods are extended to studies using microbial extremophiles with an emphasis on current studies from our laboratory because of the near absence of published literature. Theoretic considerations are presented first. These are followed by descriptions of technologies that are required to extend these evolutionary methods to the study of extremophiles. Finally, the application of ALE is demonstrated using two distinct types of extremophiles. These include the hyperthermophilic anaerobic bacterium Thermotoga maritima, and the extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus. For T. maritima, the evolutionary genomics of deletion formation is presented, and for S. solfataricus, the role of insertion sequence elements is considered during the evolution of increased thermoacidophily. These examples demonstrate the utility of experimental evolutionary methods in association with extremophiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGrand Challenges in Biology and Biotechnology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameGrand Challenges in Biology and Biotechnology
ISSN (Print)2367-1017
ISSN (Electronic)2367-1025


  • Accessory Genome
  • Adaptive Landscape
  • Evolve Cell Line
  • Genome Evolution
  • Lateral Gene Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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