Skip to main content

Data from: Parallel emergence of negative epistasis across experimental lineages

Cite this dataset

Zee, Peter C.; Velicer, Gregory J. (2017). Data from: Parallel emergence of negative epistasis across experimental lineages [Dataset]. Dryad.


Epistatic interactions can greatly impact evolutionary phenomena, particularly the process of adaptation. Here, we leverage four parallel experimentally evolved lineages to study the emergence and trajectories of epistatic interactions in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. A social gene (pilA) necessary for effective group swarming on soft agar had been deleted from the common ancestor of these lineages. During selection for competitiveness at the leading edge of growing colonies, two lineages evolved qualitatively novel mechanisms for greatly increased swarming on soft agar, whereas the other two lineages evolved relatively small increases in swarming. By reintroducing pilA into different genetic backgrounds along the four lineages, we tested whether parallel lineages showed similar patterns of epistasis. In particular, we tested whether a pattern of negative epistasis between accumulating mutations and pilA previously found in the fastest lineage would be found only in the two evolved lineages with the fastest and most striking swarming phenotypes, or rather was due to common epistatic structure across all lineages arising from the generic fixation of adaptive mutations. Our analysis reveals the emergence of negative epistasis across all four independent lineages. Further, we present results showing that the observed negative epistasis is not due exclusively to evolving populations approaching a maximum phenotypic value that inherently limits positive effects of pilA reintroduction, but rather involves direct antagonistic interactions between accumulating mutations and the reintroduced social gene.

Usage notes