A morbidostat is a bioreactor that uses antibiotics to control the growth of bacteria, making it well-suited for studying the evolution of antibiotic resistance. However, morbidostats are often too expensive to be used in educational settings. Here we present a low-cost morbidostat called the EVolutionary biorEactor (EVE) that can be built by students with minimal engineering and programming experience. We describe how we validated EVE in a real classroom setting by evolving replicate Escherichia coli populations under chloramphenicol challenge, thereby enabling students to learn about bacterial growth and antibiotic resistance.
We provide the materials to build an EVE on our Github: https://github.com/vishhvaan/eve-pi. We have also included the data to generate figure 2 on the Github.
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Peter Rodgers, eLife, United Kingdom
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Groups of animals inhabit vastly different sensory worlds, or umwelten, which shape fundamental aspects of their behaviour. Yet the sensory ecology of species is rarely incorporated into the emerging field of collective behaviour, which studies the movements, population-level behaviours, and emergent properties of animal groups. Here, we review the contributions of sensory ecology and collective behaviour to understanding how animals move and interact within the context of their social and physical environments. Our goal is to advance and bridge these two areas of inquiry and highlight the potential for their creative integration. To achieve this goal, we organise our review around the following themes: (1) identifying the promise of integrating collective behaviour and sensory ecology; (2) defining and exploring the concept of a ‘sensory collective’; (3) considering the potential for sensory collectives to shape the evolution of sensory systems; (4) exploring examples from diverse taxa to illustrate neural circuits involved in sensing and collective behaviour; and (5) suggesting the need for creative conceptual and methodological advances to quantify ‘sensescapes’. In the final section, (6) applications to biological conservation, we argue that these topics are timely, given the ongoing anthropogenic changes to sensory stimuli (e.g. via light, sound, and chemical pollution) which are anticipated to impact animal collectives and group-level behaviour and, in turn, ecosystem composition and function. Our synthesis seeks to provide a forward-looking perspective on how sensory ecologists and collective behaviourists can both learn from and inspire one another to advance our understanding of animal behaviour, ecology, adaptation, and evolution.
Changes in an organism’s environment, genome, or gene expression patterns can lead to changes in its metabolism. The metabolic phenotype can be under selection and contributes to adaptation. However, the networked and convoluted nature of an organism’s metabolism makes relating mutations, metabolic changes, and effects on fitness challenging. To overcome this challenge, we use the long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) with E. coli as a model to understand how mutations can eventually affect metabolism and perhaps fitness. We used mass spectrometry to broadly survey the metabolomes of the ancestral strains and all 12 evolved lines. We combined this metabolic data with mutation and expression data to suggest how mutations that alter specific reaction pathways, such as the biosynthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, might increase fitness in the system. Our work provides a better understanding of how mutations might affect fitness through the metabolic changes in the LTEE and thus provides a major step in developing a complete genotype–phenotype map for this experimental system.