Hampered motility promotes the evolution of wrinkly phenotype in Bacillus subtilis.
Selection for a certain trait in microbes depends on the genetic background of the strain and the selection pressure of the environmental conditions acting on the cells. In contrast to the sessile state in the biofilm, various bacterial cells employ flagellum-dependent motility under planktonic conditions suggesting that the two phenotypes are mutually exclusive. However, flagellum dependent motility facilitates the prompt establishment of floating biofilms on the air-medium interface, called pellicles. Previously, pellicles of B. subtilis were shown to be preferably established by motile cells, causing a reduced fitness of non-motile derivatives in the presence of the wild type strain.