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Why don't cellular slime molds cheat?

Authors
Journal
Journal of Theoretical Biology
0022-5193
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
109
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-5193(84)80006-5

Abstract

The evolutionary stability of division of labour in cellular slime molds is considered, making the assumption that spatial intermingling of cells descended from different spores occurs prior to aggregation. It is is suggested that, under conditions in which any cells that “cheated” by never forming stalk cells could be selected for, division of labour would be unlikely to be an evolutionarily stable strategy. A computer simulation of the Dictyostelium discoideum life cycle is used to examine possible effects of relative changes in: the proportionate survival of differentiating cells in relation to that of non-differentiating cells, the size of aggregates, and the size of the area in which cells can move. From these simulations, it is predicted that cells will have been selected to restrain the size of aggregates, and that division of labour will be more likely to occur in habitants where cells can move throughout large areas.

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