Phenotypic heterogeneity as a strategy for speeding up adaptive evolution at minimal cost

Bacillus subtilis shows phenotypic variability in the stationary growth phase. In particular, a well-defined fraction of isogenic cells differentiates into the state of competence for transformation. Various regulators controlling this fraction have been identified. Here we address the question whether this type of behaviour is optimal to speed up adaptation while minimizing the cost of competence development.

Competent (green) cells of Bacillus subtilis coexist with non-competent cells at high cell density.


Contact details:
Prof. Dr. Berenike Maier
University of Cologne
Department of Physics
Zülpicher Str. 77
50937 Köln
Tel.: +49-(0)221-480-8046
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  • Funded from SPP 1617: Melih Yüksel
  • Funded from other sources: Jan Ribbe, Katja Henseler (technician)