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Increased mutation rates under stress allow bacterial populations to adapt rapidly to stressors, including antibiotics. Here we evaluate existing models for the evolution of stress-induced mutagenesis and present a new model arguing that it evolves as a result of a complex interplay between direct selection for increased stress tolerance, second-order selection for increased evolvability and genetic drift. Further progress in our understanding of the evolutionary biology of stress and mutagenesis will require a more detailed understanding both of the patterns of stress encountered by bacteria in nature and of the mutations that are produced under stress. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/nrg3415

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature Reviews Genetics

Publication Date

01/03/2013

Volume

14

Pages

221 - 227