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Delegating the dirty work is a key to evolution
Date:5/22/2014

eam's virtual organisms started with a set of identical cells that initially took no risks, and consequently, reaped no rewards. The organisms slowly evolved to perform some of the highly lucrative dirty work, risking their genomes to do so.

They only truly thrived, however, once they evolved somatic cells that bore the brunt of the dirty work, along side germ cells that transmitted a "clean" genome to the next generation.

Interestingly, the somatic cells performed even more complex functions once they were freed from the burdens of reproduction, which led to higher fitness for the organism as a whole, Ofria added.

As a consequence of doing more dirty work, the soma gets bombarded with mutations. This explains in part why organisms age.

"One theory as to why we age is that our cells become mutated or damaged due to stress," said Goldsby, now at the University of Washington. "This played out during our experiments. The older organisms accumulated harmful mutations and began to perform tasks slower, or to age, while the younger ones outperformed them."


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Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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