Article: article from journal or magazin.
Rapid antagonistic coevolution between strains of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences
Social groups face a fundamental problem of overcoming selfish individuals capable of destroying cooperation. In the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, there is evidence that some clones ('cheaters') contribute disproportionately to the viable spores in a fruiting body while avoiding the dead stalk cell fate. It remains unclear, however, whether this cheating is actually the product of selection. Here, I report the results of an experimental evolution study designed to test whether clones of D. discoideum will evolve resistance to cheating in the laboratory with genetic variation created only through spontaneous mutation. Two strains, one green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labelled and one wild-type, were allowed to grow and develop together before the wild-type strain was removed and replaced with a naïve strain evolving in parallel. Over the course of 10 social generations, the GFP-labelled strain reliably increased its representation in the spores relative to control populations that had never experienced the competitor. This competitive advantage extended to the non-social, vegetative growth portion of the life cycle, but not to pairwise competition with two other strains. These results indicate strong antagonism between strains, mediated by ample mutational variation for cheating and also suggest that arms races between strains in the wild may be common.
antagonistic coevolution, social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum, altruism, social conflict, social evolution
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