Navigation Links
Division of labor offers insight into the evolution of multicellular life
Date:8/7/2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. Dividing tasks among different individuals is a more efficient way to get things done, whether you are an ant, a honeybee or a human.

A new study by researchers at Michigan State University's BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action suggests that this efficiency may also explain a key transition in evolutionary history, from single-celled to multi-celled organisms.

The results, which can be found in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate that the cost of switching between different tasks gives rise to the evolution of division of labor in digital organisms. In human economies, these costs could be the mental shift or the travel time required to change from activity to another.

Using the digital evolution platform Avida, self-replicating computer programs, a the team imposed a time cost on the organisms that had to perform different computational tasks to get rewards, said Heather Goldsby, who led the study and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington.

"More complex tasks received more rewards," she said. "They evolved to perform these more efficiently by using the results of simpler tasks solved by neighboring organisms and sent to them in messages."

In this way, the organisms were breaking the tasks down into smaller computational problems and dividing them up among each other.

The division of labor did not come about by bringing together individuals with different abilities each member of a community was genetically identical, in the same way that all of the cells in a human body contain the same genetic material. Instead, the organisms had to have flexible behavior and a communication system that allowed them to coordinate tasks.

The most surprising result was that the organisms evolved to become dependent on each other.

"The organisms started expecting each other to be there, and we tested them in isolation, they could no longer make copies of themselves," said Charles Ofria, MSU associate professor of computer science and engineering.


'/>"/>
Contact: Layne Cameron
Layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. BWH launches a new research division focused on integrating systems biology and medicine
2. American Association for the Advancement of Science - Pacific Division convenes in Boise June 24-27
3. New key mechanism in cell division discovered
4. Saladax Biomedical Enters into Master Collaboration Agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb
5. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2012
6. Security Technology Executive, SIA and ISC East announce Security Innovation Awards Collaboration
7. Building global collaboration for biodiversity intelligence
8. Grant program to spur new research on Alzheimers disease by encouraging collaboration
9. Scripps Research Institute announces five-year research collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb
10. Astellas and DNDi to collaborate on new drug discovery research for the treatment of NTDs
11. Its a trap! New laboratory technique captures microRNA targets
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 A person commits a crime, and the ... track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne ... Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria ... far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, ... foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: