2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Fitness Benefits:  Organization of High-Copy Number Plasmids in Bacteria


Emily J. Ebeling
Dr. Vayujeet Gokhale, Faculty Mentor

In this presentation, we examine two different distributions of plasmids in bacteria and discover how these distributions affect the evolutionary fitness of the species. Plasmids distribute themselves in accordance to one of two possible models - the random model, in which plasmids are randomly distributed throughout the cell, or the hybrid model, in which some plasmids are randomly distributed, while some form clusters. We used a computational approach to determine how the distribution of plasmids affects the growth rate of the colony, and determined which model has a greater evolutionary fitness given different initial parameters. The true value of these initial parameters were found experimentally, and were applied to the computational model. These parameters, along with the increased reaction rate of DNA replication due to the clustering of plasmids, allow the hybrid model to outgrow the random model in normal circumstances.

Keywords: Bacteria, Plasmids, Computational, Biophysics, Physics

Topic(s):Physics
Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 206-5
Location: MG 2050
Time: 10:30

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