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Promoting synthetic symbiosis under environmental disturbances


Gokhale,  Chaitanya S.
Research Group Theoretical Models of Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics, Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Denton, J. A., & Gokhale, C. S. (2018). Promoting synthetic symbiosis under environmental disturbances. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/395426.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-721E-C
By virtue of complex interactions, the behaviour of mutualistic systems is difficult to study and nearly impossible to predict. We have developed a theoretical model of a modifiable experimental yeast system that is amenable to exploring self-organised cooperation while considering the production and use of specific metabolites. Leveraging the simplicity of an artificial yeast system, a simple model of mutualism, we develop and test the assumptions and stability of this theoretical model. We examine how one-off, recurring and permanent changes to an ecological niche affect a cooperative interaction and identify an ecological “Goldilocks zone” in which the mutualism can survive. Moreover, we explore how a factor like the cost of mutualism – the cellular burden of cooperating – influences the stability of mutualism and how environmental changes shape this stability. Our results highlight the fragility of mutualisms and suggest the use of synthetic biology to stave off an ecological collapse.