Navigation Links
U of M scientists solve major piece in the origin of biological complexity
Date:11/6/2013

Scientists have puzzled for centuries over how and why multicellular organisms evolved the almost universal trait of using single cells, such as eggs and sperm, to reproduce. Now researchers led by University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences postdoctoral fellow William Ratcliff and associate professor Michael Travisano have set a big piece of that puzzle into place by applying experimental evolution to transform a single-celled algae into a multicellular one that reproduces by dispersing single cells.

"Until now, biologists have assumed that this single-cell bottleneck evolved well after multicellularity, as a mechanism to reduce conflicts of interest among the cells making up the organism," says Ratcliff. "Instead, we found that it arose at the same time as multicellularity. This has big implications for how multicellular complexity might arise in nature, because it shows that this key trait, which opens the door to evolving greater multicellular complexity, can evolve rapidly."

In an article published today in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers described how they produced the multi-celled strain by repeatedly selecting and culturing algae that settled quickly to the bottom of a liquid-filled test tube. After 73 rounds, they discovered that the algae in one of the tubes had gone multicellular.

Observing the new form, Ratcliff and Travisano discovered that it reproduced by actively breaking up, shedding motile single cells that go on to grow into new multicellular clusters. They developed a mathematical model that explained the reproductive benefit of this single-celled strategy over hypothetical alternatives in which the cluster would produce larger propagules. The model predicted that reproduction from single cells would be more successful in the long run. Even though single cells are less likely to survive than larger propagules, this disadvantage is more than made up for by their sheer number.

In collaboration with Matthew Herron and Frank Rosenzweig at the University of Montana, the researchers are now working to find the genetic basis for multicellularity and experimentally evolve even greater multicellular complexity.

"Understanding the origins of biological complexity is one of the biggest challenges in science," Travisano said. "In this experiment we've reordered one of the first steps in the origin of multicellularity, showing that two key evolutionary steps can occur far faster than previously anticipated. Looking forward, we hope to directly investigate the origins of developmental complexity, or how juveniles become adults, using the multicellular organisms that we evolved in the lab."

Several years ago, Travisano and Ratcliff made international news when they evolved multicellularity in yeast. This work takes those findings further by initiating multicellularity in an organism that has never had a multicellular ancestor and provides a new hypothesis for the evolutionary origins of the single-cell bottleneck in multicellular life cycles.


'/>"/>

Contact: Stephanie Xenos
sxenos@umn.edu
612-624-8723
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Stanford scientists develop gene therapy approach to grow blood vessels in ischemic limbs
2. Queens scientists seek vaccine for Pseudomonas infection
3. Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
4. American Society of Plant Biologists honors early career women scientists
5. Brandeis scientists win prestigious prize for circadian rhythms research
6. Scientists discover new method of proton transfer
7. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
8. WileyChina.com - Now Featuring Bespoke Pages for China’s Life Scientists
9. Scientists win $2 million to study new pathway in development and maintenance of lymphoma
10. UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings
11. Genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings revealed by scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/27/2017)... ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 ... by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) ... Analytics Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In ... top 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic ... recognized CHS for its high level of EMR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected ... 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 21, 2017 Optimove , ... by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today ... Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, ... product and replenishment recommendations to their customers based ... predictions of customer intent drawn from a complex ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... , Aug. 16, 2017  Kingfisher Talent, the ... development, and Virdis Group, global executive search specialists in the ... enables clients to leverage the expertise and reach of both ... here in the Boston biotech hub, ... leadership talent throughout the US, Canada ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... biosensors that accelerate pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics development, announces the launch of the new ... steps needed to gain kinetic binding data for a wide range of molecules, ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... family of 6” modular downlights designed to stay tightly sealed and perform efficiently ... where damp and wet location listings just aren't enough, such as: hospitals; behavioral ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 15, 2017 , ... JULABO USA introduces its new website ... makes it easy to navigate through the site whether you’re in the office, ... information, educational industry content and visit the company’s social media accounts, all on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: