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Origins, evolution, domestication and diversity of Saccharomyces beer yeasts
- Gallone, Brigida, Mertens, Stijn, Gordon, Jonathan L, Maere, Steven, Verstrepen, Kevin J, Steensels, Jan
- Current opinion in biotechnology 2018 v.49 pp. 148-155
- Saccharomyces, beers, domestication, evolution, fermentation, genetic variation, genome, models, niches, phenotype, yeasts
- Yeasts have been used for food and beverage fermentations for thousands of years. Today, numerous different strains are available for each specific fermentation process. However, the nature and extent of the phenotypic and genetic diversity and specific adaptations to industrial niches have only begun to be elucidated recently. In Saccharomyces, domestication is most pronounced in beer strains, likely because they continuously live in their industrial niche, allowing only limited genetic admixture with wild stocks and minimal contact with natural environments. As a result, beer yeast genomes show complex patterns of domestication and divergence, making both ale (S. cerevisiae) and lager (S. pastorianus) producing strains ideal models to study domestication and, more generally, genetic mechanisms underlying swift adaptation to new niches.