Dataset 1 from Detecting genetic interactions using parallel evolution in experimental populations

Eukaryotic genomes contain thousands of genes organized into complex and interconnected genetic interaction networks. Most of our understanding of how genetic variation affects these networks comes from quantitative-trait loci mapping and from the systematic analysis of double deletion (or knockdown) mutants, primarily in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Evolve and re-sequence experiments are an alternative approach for identifying novel functional variants and genetic interactions, particularly between non-loss of function mutations. These experiments leverage natural selection to obtain genotypes with functionally important variants and positive genetic interactions. However, no systematic methods for detecting genetic interactions in these data are yet available. Here, we introduce a computational method based on the idea that variants in genes that interact will co-occur in evolved genotypes more often than expected by chance. We apply this method to a previously published yeast experimental evolution dataset. We find that genetic targets of selection are distributed non-uniformly among evolved genotypes, indicating that genetic interactions had a significant effect on evolutionary trajectories. We identify individual gene pairs with a statistically significant genetic interaction score. The strongest interaction is between genes TRK1 and PHO84, genes that have not been reported to interact in previous systematic studies. Our work demonstrates that leveraging parallelism in experimental evolution is useful for identifying genetic interactions that have escaped detection by other methods.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Convergent evolution in the genomics era: new insights and directions’.