Navigation Links
Social parasites of the smaller kind
Date:8/24/2007

Cooperation is widespread in the natural world but so too are cheats mutants that do not contribute to the collective good but simply reap the benefits of others cooperative efforts. In evolutionary terms, cheats should indeed prosper, so how cooperation persists despite the threat of cheat takeover is a fundamental question. Recently, biologists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford have found that in bacteria, cheats actually orchestrate their own downfall.

In the study, reported in the September issue of The American Naturalist, the team explored the impact of cheats in populations of the notorious pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria cooperate to scavenge iron from their environment, but mutant cheats do not contribute their fair share of scavenger molecules and instead simply steal the iron supplies of others.

Cheats are kept in check by simple frequency dependence, says Adin Ross-Gillespie, lead author of the study. When rare, cheats prosper at the expense of cooperators, but as they become more common, the profitability of their strategy declines. At equilibrium, neither strategy has the upper hand, so the two coexist.

But, the authors note, this pattern arises only under certain conditions. In this case, it arose because population productivity, too, was sensitive to the frequency of cheats. Cultures with few cheats grew rapidly and achieved larger absolute sizes in the time available, providing greater opportunity for cheats to exploit the situation. Meanwhile, cultures comprising high proportions of cheats grew poorly. Too many cheats spoil the broth, quips Ross-Gillespie.

Microbes cooperate extensively, and their social activities often have profound medical or economic importance. Studies such as this help us to better understand how cooperative traits evolve and persist. Who knows" Perhaps some day we will harness the power of cheats to direct the dynamics of bacterial populations.


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Wu
swu@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Elephants imitate sounds as a form of social communication
2. Biologists determine genetic blueprint of social amoeba
3. Gorilla susceptibility to Ebola virus: the cost of sociality
4. Shifty-eyed Monkeys Offer Window Into Brains Social Reflexes
5. Rodent social behavior encoded in junk DNA
6. Discovery that bacterium is phosphate gourmet key clue to what makes it most social of bacteria
7. Sudden change in social status triggers genetic response in male fish, study finds
8. Ancient DNA provides clues to the evolution of social behavior
9. Mice lacking social memory molecule take bullying in stride
10. Sociality of sweat bees evolved simultaneously during climate change
11. ASU researchers find link between social behavior, maternal traits in bees
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 No two people ... at the New York University Tandon School of ... have found that partial similarities between prints are ... in mobile phones and other electronic devices can ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today ... one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the human ... first application of deep learning to create predictive models ... and a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen ... future publicly available resources created and shared by the ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... --  EyeLock LLC , a leader of iris-based identity ... and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent No. ... iris image with a face image acquired in sequence ... th issued patent. "The issuance ... multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come to market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... a United States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy of ... capable of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and manufacturing organization ... quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as a stand-alone ... for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 earlier this ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced Space Technology and ... ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is a technology development ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most personal ... rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and likely ... dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, getting ...
Breaking Biology Technology: