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Keywords:

  • antogonistic pleiotropy;
  • experimental evolution;
  • generalist;
  • mutation accumulation;
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens;
  • specialist

Abstract

We investigated the role of the scale of temporal variation in the evolution of generalism in populations of the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens. Replicate populations were propagated as batch cultures for approximately 1400 generations (192 days), in either high quality media only, low quality media only, or were alternated between the two at a range of temporal scales (between 1 and 48 days). Populations evolved in alternating media showed fitness increases in both media and the rate of alternation during selection had no effect on average fitness in either media. Moreover, the fitness of these populations in high quality media was the same as for populations evolved only in high quality media and likewise for low quality media. Populations evolved only in high or low quality media did not show fitness improvements in their nonselective media. These results indicate that cost-free generalists can evolve under a wide range of temporal variation.