PSU Mark
Eberly College of Science Mathematics Department

Meeting Details

For more information about this meeting, contact Tim Reluga, Carina Curto.

Title:Genetic Mechanisms for Producing High Phenotypic Heterogeneity: Underappreciated Modes of Evolution?
Seminar:Theoretical Biology Seminar
Speaker:Michael Mwangi, Penn State
(Host: Jessica Conway)
My experimental bacteriology lab is currently studying two genetic mechanisms for producing high phenotypic heterogeneity (for simplicity, these genetic mechanisms will herein be called GMPHs). One of the GMPHs appears to confer an on/off superevolvability by enabling bacteria to transition rapidly between non-mutator and mutator states. The other GMPH appears to involve the generation of resisters to antibiotics at remarkable frequencies due to many mutations affecting the same regulatory pathway. Our work raises several questions about GMPHs that may be best addressed by a combination of theory and experiment. Firstly, have bacteria evolved GMPHs to bet hedge against future threats? This would be analogous to a financial manager maintaining a diverse portfolio of stocks to minimize risk. Secondly, can we prove that GMPHs have been selected for over time? Such selection would ostensibly act at the level of populations and not individual cells. Thirdly, can we construct testable mathematical models of evolution that incorporate GMPHs? These models may help to elucidate the various modes of evolution that underlie treatment failures in the clinic.

Room Reservation Information

Room Number:MB106
Date:02 / 10 / 2015
Time:01:00pm - 02:00pm