Studying microbial ecology and evolution across multiple levels

Category: evolution

Can phenotypic plasticity accelerate evolution?

As of today, it is 8 years ago that I presented a paper for a course, and I recently got reminded of this work. The paper, written by Espinosa-Soto et al. (2011)1 was about phenotypic plasticity (the same genotype giving rise to alternative phenotypes) and how it can help or hinder evolution. Since then, a lot of single-cell measurements have been done on microorganisms, revealing just how dominant phenotypic heterogeneity is in bacterial populations. For example, take a look at the awesome video by Alma Dal Co, revealing how microscale gradients in clonal populations give rise to cross-feeding and antibiotic tolerance:

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