Journal: Takahashi CN, Zaman L, Klavins E , (). Accelerating Evolutionary Hill Climbs in Parallel Turbidostats . , 217273Abstract:
Evolution has been used to address many engineering problems. Within the context of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, directed evolution has natural applications. However, most research concerning optimizing microbial evolution has been focused on library generation and screening, while accelerating evolutionary hill climbs and been largely ignored. Here, we develop a model to explore how population structure can accelerate evolutionary hill climbs. We show that by adjusting the population size, environmental challenge, and meta-population dynamics that the rate of evolution can be accelerated in parallel turbidostats. Our analyses leads to two surprising results: small populations are favored over conventionally large microbial populations, and propagating modest fitness improvements is favored over propagating mutants with large beneficial mutations. When combined with rational design and other optimization techniques our theory can accelerate strain development for applications such as consolidated bioprocessing, and bioremidation systems.