Molecular Biology and Evolution
In order to explore the variety of possible responses available to a ribozyme population evolving a novel phenotype, five Tetrahymena thermophila group I intron ribozyme pools were evolved in parallel for cleavage of a DNA oligonucleotide. These ribozyme populations were propagated under identical conditions and characterized when they reached apparent phenotypic plateaus; the populations that reached the highest plateau showed a near 100-fold improvement in DNA cleavage activity. A detailed characterization of the evolved response in these populations reveals at least two distinct phenotypic trajectories emerging as a result of the imposed selection. Not only do these distinct solutions exhibit differential DNA cleavage activity, but they also exhibit a very different correlation with a related, but unselected, phenotype: RNA cleavage activity. In turn, each of these trajectories is underwritten by differing genotypic profiles. This study underscores the complex network of possible trajectories through sequence space available to an evolving population and uncovers the diversity of solutions that result when the process of experimental evolution is repeated multiple times in a simple, engineered system.
experimental evolution, group I ribozyme, catalytic RNA, directed evolution, adaptive landscape, evolution in vitro
© 2000 by the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Hanczyc, Martin M. and Dorit, Robert L., "Replicability and Recurrence in the Experimental Evolution of a Group I Ribozyme" (2000). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.