Advanced

Group Formation, Relatedness, and the Evolution of Multicellularity

Fisher, Roberta M. ; Cornwallis, Charlie LU and West, Stuart A. (2013) In Current Biology 23(12). p.1120-1125
Abstract
The evolution of multicellular organisms represents one of approximately eight major evolutionary transitions that have occurred on earth [1-4]. The major challenge raised by this transition is to explain why single cells should join together and become mutually dependent, in a way that leads to a more complex multicellular life form that can only replicate as a whole. It has been argued that a high genetic relatedness (r) between cells played a pivotal role in the evolutionary transition from single-celled to multicellular organisms, because it leads to reduced conflict and an alignment of interests between cells [1-17]. We tested this hypothesis with a comparative study, comparing the form of multicellularity in species where groups are... (More)
The evolution of multicellular organisms represents one of approximately eight major evolutionary transitions that have occurred on earth [1-4]. The major challenge raised by this transition is to explain why single cells should join together and become mutually dependent, in a way that leads to a more complex multicellular life form that can only replicate as a whole. It has been argued that a high genetic relatedness (r) between cells played a pivotal role in the evolutionary transition from single-celled to multicellular organisms, because it leads to reduced conflict and an alignment of interests between cells [1-17]. We tested this hypothesis with a comparative study, comparing the form of multicellularity in species where groups are clonal (r = 1) to species where groups are potentially nonclonal (r <= 1). We found that species with clonal group formation were more likely to have undergone the major evolutionary transition to obligate multicellularity and had more cell types, a higher likelihood of sterile cells, and a trend toward higher numbers of cells in a group. More generally, our results unify the role of group formation and genetic relatedness across multiple evolutionary transitions and provide an unmistakable footprint of how natural selection has shaped the evolution of life [1]. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Current Biology
volume
23
issue
12
pages
1120 - 1125
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000320682800028
  • scopus:84879286772
  • pmid:23746639
ISSN
1879-0445
DOI
10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.004
project
Social Evolution
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ecbbc23d-48fd-4a28-ba91-275a46a68b9c (old id 3979786)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 10:02:05
date last changed
2020-10-11 03:58:10
@article{ecbbc23d-48fd-4a28-ba91-275a46a68b9c,
  abstract     = {The evolution of multicellular organisms represents one of approximately eight major evolutionary transitions that have occurred on earth [1-4]. The major challenge raised by this transition is to explain why single cells should join together and become mutually dependent, in a way that leads to a more complex multicellular life form that can only replicate as a whole. It has been argued that a high genetic relatedness (r) between cells played a pivotal role in the evolutionary transition from single-celled to multicellular organisms, because it leads to reduced conflict and an alignment of interests between cells [1-17]. We tested this hypothesis with a comparative study, comparing the form of multicellularity in species where groups are clonal (r = 1) to species where groups are potentially nonclonal (r &lt;= 1). We found that species with clonal group formation were more likely to have undergone the major evolutionary transition to obligate multicellularity and had more cell types, a higher likelihood of sterile cells, and a trend toward higher numbers of cells in a group. More generally, our results unify the role of group formation and genetic relatedness across multiple evolutionary transitions and provide an unmistakable footprint of how natural selection has shaped the evolution of life [1].},
  author       = {Fisher, Roberta M. and Cornwallis, Charlie and West, Stuart A.},
  issn         = {1879-0445},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {12},
  pages        = {1120--1125},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Current Biology},
  title        = {Group Formation, Relatedness, and the Evolution of Multicellularity},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.004},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.004},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2013},
}