Multicellular Yeast

Travisano Lab Group

The evolution of multicellularity was one of the most important evolutionary transitions in the history of life. It profoundly affected the biological diversity and complexity. We've shown that it is possible to experimentally investigate the origin of multicellularity, by experimentally evolving Baker's yeast. All it takes is yeast and continued selection for faster settling rate to evolve these "snowflakes." We use multicellular yeast to answer evolutionary questions such as the evolution of aging, complexity, and modularity.

Want more information? Read our Multicellular Yeast Primer or even read the published paper yourself - it's open access! The news articles listed below also contain information meant for a general audience. Also, please see this blog post by Carl Zimmer which includes further comments from the authors regarding criticisms of the paper.

Questions? Contact Will Ratcliff or Michael Travisano.

Multicellular Yeast in the News:

January 16-21, 2012:

CBC Radio: Quirks and Quarks

Huffington Post: Scientists Demonstrate Evolution of Multicellularity in Experiment by Rebecca Searles

The Hindi: Yeast Evolves to Multicellular Variety in 60 Days in the Lab by R. Prasad

The Star Tribune: U's yeast: Revolutionary evolution by Jenna Ross

The State Column: Scientists create multicellular life using gravity and pressure

Ars Technica: Researchers evolve a multicellular yeast in the lab in 2 months by John Timmer

ScienceDaily: Biologists Replicate Key Evolutionary Step 

New York Times: Yeast Experiment Hints at a Faster Evolution from Single Cells by Carl Zimmer

Nature News: Yeast suggest speedy start for multicellular life by Ed Yong

The Scientist: Evolving Multicellularity by Jef Akst 

Scientific American: Test Tube Yeast Evolve Multicellularity by Sarah Fecht

Wired: Multicellular Life Evolves in Laboratory by Brandon Keim

Wired UK: Selfless yeast sheds light on origins of multicellular life by Duncan Geere

Not Exactly Rocket Science: How I became we, which became I again by Ed Yong

Scientific American Blogs: Evolution: The Rise of Complexity by Christie Wilcox 

Digital Journal: Yeast experiment suggests rapid start for multicellular life by Kev Hedges

The Daily Galaxy: Evolution from Single to Multi-Cellularity

Science: Evolutionary Time Travel by Elizabeth Pennisi (November 18, 2011)

Science News: Multicellular life arises in a test tube by Susan Milius (July 16, 2011)

June 23, 2011:

Popular Science: Scientists Coax Brewer's Yeast into Making Evolutionary Leap to Multicellularity by Clay Dillow

80beats: Yeast Can Evolve into Multicellular Organisms in a Few Short Months (June 23, 2011)

New Scientist: Lab yeast make evolutionary leap to multicellularity by Bob Holmes

Media (Photos & Videos):


Evolution of Aging

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Ratcliff WC, Denison RF, Borrello M, Travisano M. 2012. Experimental evolution of multicellularity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA.

© micropop 2012