Editor's Summary

19 March 2009

Of yeast and man


Baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is one of the best studied model organisms, and has been associated with human activity for thousands of years. Two papers published in the 19 March 2009 issue of Nature provide a picture of its population structure and its relationship with other yeasts. Liti et al. compare genome variation in S. cerevisiae isolates with its closest wild cousin, S. paradoxus, which has never been associated with human activity. They find that variation in S. paradoxus closely follows geographic borders; S. cerevisiae shows less differentiation, consistent with opportunities for cross-breeding, rather than a few distinct domestication events, as the main human influence. Schacherer et al. compare 63 S. cerevisiae isolates from different ecological niches and geographic locations. They find evidence for genetic differentiation of three distinct subgroups based on where the strains were isolated: from vineyards, sake and related fermentations and lab strains. Their data support the hypothesis that these three groups represent separate domestication events, and that S. cerevisiae as a whole is not domesticated.

LetterPopulation genomics of domestic and wild yeasts

Gianni Liti, David M. Carter, Alan M. Moses, Jonas Warringer, Leopold Parts, Stephen A. James, Robert P. Davey, Ian N. Roberts, Austin Burt, Vassiliki Koufopanou, Isheng J. Tsai, Casey M. Bergman, Douda Bensasson, Michael J. T. O'Kelly, Alexander van Oudenaarden, David B. H. Barton, Elizabeth Bailes, Alex N. Nguyen, Matthew Jones, Michael A. Quail, Ian Goodhead, Sarah Sims, Frances Smith, Anders Blomberg, Richard Durbin & Edward J. Louis

doi:10.1038/nature07743

LetterComprehensive polymorphism survey elucidates population structure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Joseph Schacherer, Joshua A. Shapiro, Douglas M. Ruderfer & Leonid Kruglyak

doi:10.1038/nature07670