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A rugged yet easily navigable fitness landscape


Papkou, Andrei; Garcia-Pastor, Lucia; Escudero, José Antonio; Wagner, Andreas (2023). A rugged yet easily navigable fitness landscape. Science, 382(6673):eadh3860.

Abstract

Fitness landscape theory predicts that rugged landscapes with multiple peaks impair Darwinian evolution, but experimental evidence is limited. In this study, we used genome editing to map the fitness of >260,000 genotypes of the key metabolic enzyme dihydrofolate reductase in the presence of the antibiotic trimethoprim, which targets this enzyme. The resulting landscape is highly rugged and harbors 514 fitness peaks. However, its highest peaks are accessible to evolving populations via abundant fitness-increasing paths. Different peaks share large basins of attraction that render the outcome of adaptive evolution highly contingent on chance events. Our work shows that ruggedness need not be an obstacle to Darwinian evolution but can reduce its predictability. If true in general, the complexity of optimization problems on realistic landscapes may require reappraisal.

Abstract

Fitness landscape theory predicts that rugged landscapes with multiple peaks impair Darwinian evolution, but experimental evidence is limited. In this study, we used genome editing to map the fitness of >260,000 genotypes of the key metabolic enzyme dihydrofolate reductase in the presence of the antibiotic trimethoprim, which targets this enzyme. The resulting landscape is highly rugged and harbors 514 fitness peaks. However, its highest peaks are accessible to evolving populations via abundant fitness-increasing paths. Different peaks share large basins of attraction that render the outcome of adaptive evolution highly contingent on chance events. Our work shows that ruggedness need not be an obstacle to Darwinian evolution but can reduce its predictability. If true in general, the complexity of optimization problems on realistic landscapes may require reappraisal.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:24 November 2023
Deposited On:07 Mar 2024 11:26
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 03:39
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.adh3860
PubMed ID:37995212
  • Content: Submitted Version
  • Language: English