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Experimental evolution reveals that high relatedness protects multicellular cooperation from cheaters
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology. Wageningen University. (Johannesson group)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1502-0947
2016 (English)In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 7, 11435Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

In multicellular organisms, there is a potential risk that cheating mutants gain access to the germline. Development from a single-celled zygote resets relatedness among cells to its maximum value each generation, which should accomplish segregation of cheating mutants from non-cheaters and thereby protect multicellular cooperation. Here we provide the crucial direct comparison between high- and low-relatedness conditions to test this hypothesis. We allow two variants of the fungus Neurospora crassa to evolve, one with and one without the ability to form chimeras with other individuals, thus generating two relatedness levels. While multicellular cooperation remains high in the high-relatedness lines, it significantly decreases in all replicate low-relatedness lines, resulting in an average threefold decrease in spore yield. This reduction is caused by cheating mutants with reduced investment in somatic functions, but increased competitive success when fusing with non-cheaters. Our experiments demonstrate that high-genetic relatedness is crucial to sustain multicellular cooperation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 7, 11435
Keyword [en]
Ascomycete fungi, heterokaryon incompatibility, multicellularity, kin selection, social evolution
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-287896DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11435ISI: 000375427500001PubMedID: 27139112OAI: diva2:923577
Available from: 2016-04-26 Created: 2016-04-26 Last updated: 2016-06-23Bibliographically approved

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