Far from home : understanding pleiotropic effects of adaptive mutations in non-home environments

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Understanding how organisms adapt to their environment and determining the fitness consequences of such adaptation is a major goal of evolutionary biology. It is unknown how mutations that are adaptive in one environment fare in a new environment. The fitness consequences of mutations in many different environments is what we define as pleiotropy. In this thesis, I shed light on adaptive mutations in the environment they evolved in (or "home" environment) and their effects in novel environments ("non-home" environments). First, I characterize components of the morphological adaptation of the dynamic pyrenoid in the algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in both low carbon concentrations ("home environment") and high carbon concentrations ("non-home environment"). Second, I leverage barcode lineage tracking to analyze individual adaptive mutations from both haploid and diploid evolved populations and estimate their fitness effects in both their home and non-home environments. Lastly, I identified adaptive mutations and constructed homozygous and heterozygous mutant strains to gain insight into the roles of dominance and pleiotropy in adaptation. I find that environment is not the sole driver of pleiotropy, but ploidy, dominance, and target genes contribute to fitness in other environments. Together, this study of adaptive mutations reveals a diversity of forces driving pleiotropy that are hidden and cannot be revealed by the mutation's fitness in its home environment alone.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2022; ©2022
Publication date 2022; 2022
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Chen, Vivian Kien
Degree supervisor Sherlock, Gavin
Thesis advisor Sherlock, Gavin
Thesis advisor Cyert, Martha S, 1958-
Thesis advisor Good, Benjamin H
Thesis advisor Petrov, Dmitri Alex, 1969-
Degree committee member Cyert, Martha S, 1958-
Degree committee member Good, Benjamin H
Degree committee member Petrov, Dmitri Alex, 1969-
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Biology


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Vivian Kien Chen.
Note Submitted to the Department of Biology.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2022.
Location https://purl.stanford.edu/ry347gb0055

Access conditions

© 2022 by Vivian Kien Chen
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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