Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diversity Promotes Cooperation Among Microbes

Date:
October 24, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Understanding how cooperation evolves and is maintained represents one of evolutionary biology's thorniest problems. New research using the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens has identified a novel mechanism that thwarts the evolution of cheats and broadens our understanding of how cooperation might be maintained in nature and human societies.

Pseudomonas fluorescens "wrinkly-spreader" colony. For more information, see the article by Brockhurst et al. in the October 24 issue of Current Biology.
Credit: Andrew Spiers

Understanding how cooperation evolves and is maintained represents one of evolutionary biology's thorniest problems. This stems from the fact that freeloading cheats will evolve to exploit any cooperative group that doesn't defend itself, leading to the breakdown of cooperation.

Related Articles


New research using the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens has identified a novel mechanism that thwarts the evolution of cheats and broadens our understanding of how cooperation might be maintained in nature and human societies. The new findings are reported by Michael Brockhurst of the University of Liverpool and colleagues at the Université Montpellier and the University of Oxford in the October 24th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press.

Bacteria are known to cooperate in a wide variety of ways, including the formation of multicellular structures called biofilms. P. fluorescens biofilms are formed when individual cells overproduce a polymer that sticks the cells together, allowing the colonization of liquid surfaces. While production of the polymer is metabolically costly to individual cells, the biofilm group benefits from the increased access to oxygen that surface colonization provides. However, cheating types rapidly evolve that live in the biofilm but don't produce the polymer. The presence of cheats weakens the biofilm, imperiling its survival by causing it to sink.

In the new work, the researchers studied the effect of short-term evolution of diversity within the biofilm on the success of cooperation. The researchers found that within biofilms, diverse cooperators evolved to use different nutrient resources, thereby reducing the competition for resources within the biofilm. The researchers then manipulated diversity within experimental biofilms and found that diverse biofilms contained fewer cheats and can produce larger groups than non-diverse biofilms. The findings indicate that, as in ecological communities, biodiversity within biofilms is beneficial--moreover, the authors point out that this is the first time that such ideas have been applied in the context of social evolution, and it represents a new way in which cooperation can survive in the face of cheating. Furthermore, the new work sheds light on how division of labor within multicellular organisms may initially have evolved in order to minimize functional redundancy among cells and to increase efficiency.

The researchers include Michael A. Brockhurst of University of Liverpool in Liverpool, UK and Université Montpellier II in Montpellier, France; Michael E. Hochberg of Université Montpellier II in Montpellier, France; Thomas Bell and Angus Buckling of University of Oxford, South Parks Road in Oxford, UK.

This work was supported by grants from Les Fonds National de la Science, Programme Microbiologique (France), and the Royal Society (UK).

Brockhurst et al.: "Character Displacement Promotes Cooperation in Bacterial Biofilms." Publishing in Current Biology 16, 2030--2034, October 24, 2006 DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2006.08.068. http://www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Diversity Promotes Cooperation Among Microbes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024010417.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, October 24). Diversity Promotes Cooperation Among Microbes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024010417.htm
Cell Press. "Diversity Promotes Cooperation Among Microbes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024010417.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) — From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins