Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 508005
Title Sex in a test tube : Testing the benefits of in vitro recombination
Author(s) Pesce, Diego; Lehman, Niles; Visser, Arjan de
Source Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Series B, Biological Sciences 371 (2016)1706. - ISSN 0962-8436
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0529
Department(s) Laboratory of Genetics
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Evolution of sex - Fitness landscape - In vitro recombination - Laboratory directed evolution - Origin of life
Abstract

The origin and evolution of sex, and the associated role of recombination, present a major problem in biology. Sex typically involves recombination of closely related DNA or RNA sequences,which is fundamentally a randomprocess that creates but also breaks up beneficial allele combinations. Directed evolution experiments, which combine in vitro mutation and recombination protocols with in vitro or in vivo selection, have proved to be an effective approach for improving functionality of nucleic acids and enzymes. As this approach allows extreme control over evolutionary conditions and parameters, it also facilitates the detection of small or position-specific recombination benefits and benefits associated with recombination between highly divergent genotypes. Yet, in vitro approaches have been largely exploratory and motivated by obtaining improved end products rather than testing hypotheses of recombination benefits. Here, we review the various experimental systems and approaches used by in vitro studies of recombination, discuss what they say about the evolutionary role of recombination, and sketch their potential for addressing extant questions about the evolutionary role of sex and recombination, in particular on complex fitness landscapes.We also review recent insights into the role of ‘extracellular recombination’ during the origin of life.

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