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Keywords:

  • Correlated evolution;
  • long-term selection;
  • microbial experimental evolution;
  • multivariate evolution;
  • negative epistasis;
  • trade-offs

We studied the evolution of the correlation between growth rate r and yield K in experimental lineages of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. First, we isolated a single clone every approximately 250 generations from each of eight populations selected in a glucose-limited medium for 5000 generations at approximately 6.6 population doublings per day (20 clones per line × 8 lines) and measured its growth rate and yield in a new, galactose-limited medium (with ∼1.3 doubling per day). For most lines, r on galactose increased throughout the 5000 generations of selection on glucose whereas K on galactose declined. Next, we selected these 160 glucose-adapted clones in the galactose environment for approximately 120 generations and measured changes in r and K in galactose. In general, growth rate increased and yield declined, and clones that initially grew slowly on galactose improved more than did faster clones. We found a negative correlation between r and K among clones both within each line and across all clones. We provide evidence that this relationship is not heritable and is a negative environmental correlation rather than a genetic trade-off.