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Growth rates of populations evolved and assayed at two temperatures for 6500 generations

Cite this dataset

Tarkington, Jason; Zufall, Rebecca (2022). Growth rates of populations evolved and assayed at two temperatures for 6500 generations [Dataset]. Dryad.


Evolutionary biologists have long sought to understand what factors affect the repeatability of adaptive outcomes. To better understand the role of temperature in determining the repeatability of adaptive trajectories, we evolved populations of different genotypes of the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila at low and high temperatures and followed changes in growth rate over 6,500 generations. As expected, growth rate increased with a decelerating rate for all populations; however, there were differences in the patterns of evolution at the two temperatures. The growth rates of the different genotypes tended to converge as evolution proceeded at both temperatures, but this convergence was quicker and more pronounced at the higher temperature. Additionally, over the first 4,000 generations we found greater repeatability of evolution, in terms of change in growth rate, among replicates of the same genotype at the higher temperature. Finally, we found limited evidence of trade-offs in fitness between temperatures, and an asymmetry in the correlated responses, whereby evolution in a high temperature increases growth rate at the lower temperature significantly more than the reverse. These results demonstrate the importance of temperature in determining the repeatability of evolutionary trajectories for the eukaryotic microbe Tetrahymena thermophila and may provide clues to how temperature affects evolution more generally.


Growth rate data was collected from evolving populations on Tetrahymena thermophila. Growth rate was measure in 96-well plates on a microplate reader and a r-script was used to an r-max to each curve.

Usage notes

Dataset includes generation 0 which is calculated by taking the mean of the measurements over the first 50 generations for each combination of genotype and assay temperature.


National Science Foundation, Award: 1911449