Module 38: Modeling Yeast Evolution through Yeast-Fly Interactions

Faculty Contact: Steve Proulx and Kelly Thomasson (PhD Student)

Research Areas:


The goal of this project is to create basic models of the evolution of yeast based on the interactions between yeast and fruit flies. We present a system where flies land on an area with yeast and then ingest the yeast. The flies then travel to a new area devoid of yeast, where they defecate. Only a few yeast will survive this journey through the fly gut, but those that do will colonize the new patch. In our system, we use two types of yeast: one survives the fly's digestive track well, but at the expense of slow reproduction; the other yeast can reproduce quickly but does not survive the fly-gut well. We are exploring whether this process will amplify the differences between the two types of yeast, which would point to the yeast eventually becoming different species. 


Active Quarters:

  • Fall 2017: Taom Sakal
  • Winter 2018: Taom Sakal