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Reproduction costs can drive the evolution of groups

MPS-Authors
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Pichugin,  Yuriy
Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Traulsen,  Arne
Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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325670.full.pdf
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Citation

Pichugin, Y., & Traulsen, A. (2018). Reproduction costs can drive the evolution of groups. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/325670.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-70A5-4
Abstract
A fascinating wealth of life cycles is observed in biology, from unicellularity to the concerted fragmentation of multi-cellular units. However, the understanding of factors driving the evolution of life cycles is still limited. We investigate how reproduction costs influence this process. We consider a basic model of a group structured population of undifferentiated cells, where groups reproduce by fragmentation. Fragmentation events are associated with a cost expressed by either a fragmentation delay, a fragmentation risk, or a fragmentation loss. The introduction of such fragmentation costs vastly increases the set of potentially optimal life cycles. Based on these findings, we suggest that the evolution of life cycles and the splitting into multiple offspring can be directly associated with the fragmentation cost. Moreover, the impact of this cost alone is strong enough to drive the emergence of multicellular groups, even under scenarios that strongly disfavour groups compared to solitary individuals.