Studies of the evolution of microbes under controlled laboratory culture conditions have led to fundamental advances in our understanding of microbial adaptation and have also served as a valuable tool for engineering microbes with desirable properties. The visualizing evolution in real-time (VERT) method uses genetically identical but differently colored (fluorescent) bacterial cells to identify when adaptive evolution has occurred in laboratory cultures. The goals of this CAREER project are 1) to develop VERT as a method to study the evolutionary dynamics of microbes during laboratory evolution using the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), 2) to utilize VERT for engineering complex properties of microbial systems, by applying it to the engineering of E. coli for enhanced tolerance to a biofuel (1-butanol), and 3) to determine the genetic processes underlying the evolution of E. coli by determining the changes in genomic structure and gene expression that occur in response to 1-butanol.

Broader Impacts: VERT will be developed into an educational tool by 1) developing web-based modules, including a documentary, for the broad public dissemination of information about the development and application of this technology, 2) involving high school and undergraduate students (particularly women and minorities under-represented in science and engineering) in the research, thereby training future scientists and engineers, and 3) using VERT to illustrate and teach the process of evolution to high school and undergraduate students.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)
Application #
1054276
Program Officer
Gregory W. Warr
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-03-01
Budget End
2016-02-29
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2010
Total Cost
$291,243
Indirect Cost
Name
Texas Engineering Experiment Station
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
College Station
State
TX
Country
United States
Zip Code
77845