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  Ecological scaffolding and the evolution of individuality: the transition from cells to multicellular life

Black, A. J., Bourrat, P., & Rainey, P. B. (2019). Ecological scaffolding and the evolution of individuality: the transition from cells to multicellular life. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/656660.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-DD0A-A Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-DD0B-9
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Black, Andrew J., Author
Bourrat, Pierrick, Author
Rainey, Paul B.1, Author              
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1Department Microbial Population Biology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_2421699              

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 Abstract: Evolutionary transitions in individuality are central to the emergence of biological complexity. Recent experiments provide glimpses of processes underpinning the transition from single cells to multicellular life and draw attention to the critical role of ecology. Here we emphasise this ecological dimension and argue that its current absence from theoretical frameworks hampers development of general explanatory solutions. Using mechanistic mathematical models, we show how a minimal ecological structure comprised of patchily distributed resources and between patch dispersal can scaffold Darwinian-like properties on collectives of cells. This scaffolding causes cells to participate directly in the process of evolution by natural selection as if they were members of multicellular collectives, with collectives participating in a death-birth process arising from the interplay between the timing of dispersal events and the rate of resource utilisation by cells. When this timescale is sufficiently long and new collectives are founded by single cells, collectives experience conditions that favour evolution of a reproductive division of labour. Together our simple model makes explicit key events in the major evolutionary transition to multicellularity. It also makes predictions concerning the life history of certain pathogens and serves as an ecological recipe for experimental realisation of evolutionary transitions.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-05-312019
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1101/656660
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Title: bioRxiv
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
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