Experimental and Conceptual Approaches to Studying Bet Hedging in Microorganisms

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2016

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Abstract

Bet-hedging strategies are used by organisms to survive in

unpredictable environments. To pursue a bet-hedging strategy, an

organism must produce multiple phenotypes from a single genotype. What

molecular mechanisms allow this to happen? To address this question, I

created a synthetic system that displays bet-hedging behavior, and

developed a new technique called `TrackScar' to measure the fitness

and stress-resistance of individual cells. I found that bet-hedging

can be generated by actively sensing the environment, and that

bet-hedging strategies based on active sensing need not be

metabolically costly. These results suggest that to understand how

bet-hedging strategies are produced, microorganisms must be

examined in the actual environments that they come from.

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Maxwell, Colin Scott (2016). Experimental and Conceptual Approaches to Studying Bet Hedging in Microorganisms. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12139.

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