EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MICROBIOLOGY
E. Bastiaans et al., “Experimental evolution reveals that high relatedness protects multicellular cooperation from cheaters,” Nat Commun, 7:11435, 2016.
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.
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....