Multicellular Cooperation Curbs Cheating

An experimental evolution study shows that more cheaters arise when bread mold fungal cells are less related to one another.

Jenny Rood
Jul 1, 2016

KIN KINKS: Sporulating fungal colonies (orange) are rarer in strains evolved under low-relatedness conditions due to the evolution of cheaters (tan).ERIC BASTIAANS

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MICROBIOLOGY

The paper
E. Bastiaans et al., “Experimental evolution reveals that high relatedness protects multicellular cooperation from cheaters,” Nat Commun, 7:11435, 2016.

Cheating cooperation
Genetic similarity among cells is probably an important factor for successful multicellularity, as suggested by studies of varying relatedness among the fruiting bodies of myxobacteria or Dictyostelium—which form by aggregation of cells, not by clonal expansion from a single cell. That work showed cheating can increase with decreased relatedness , but in these models it has not been possible to make comparisons in which relatedness is the only variable.

Familial fungi
Duur Aanen of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and his graduate student Eric Bastiaans found a model to overcome that problem: the bread mold Neurospora crassa....

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Multicellular Cooperation Curbs Cheating

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