1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Genomics and Evolutionary Biology
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The evolution of adhesiveness as a social adaptation

  1. Thomas Garcia Is a corresponding author
  2. Guilhem Doulcier
  3. Silvia De Monte
  1. Universit´e Pierre et Marie Curie, France
  2. École Normale Supérieure, France
Research Article
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Cite as: eLife 2015;4:e08595 doi: 10.7554/eLife.08595

Abstract

Cellular adhesion is a key ingredient to sustain collective functions of microbial aggregates. Here, we investigate the evolutionary origins of adhesion and the emergence of groups of genealogically unrelated cells with a game-theoretical model. The considered adhesiveness trait is costly, continuous and affects both group formation and group-derived benefits. The formalism of adaptive dynamics reveals two evolutionary stable strategies, at each extreme on the axis of adhesiveness. We show that cohesive groups can evolve by small mutational steps, provided the population is already endowed with a minimum adhesiveness level. Assortment between more adhesive types, and in particular differential propensities to leave a fraction of individuals ungrouped, can compensate for the cost of increased adhesiveness. We also discuss the change in the social nature of more adhesive mutations along evolutionary trajectories, and find that altruism arises before directly beneficial behavior, despite being the most challenging form of cooperation.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Thomas Garcia

    Institut d'´ecologie et des sciences de l'environnement, Universit´e Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
    For correspondence
    t_garcia99@yahoo.fr
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Guilhem Doulcier

    Institut de Biologie de l'´Ecole Normale Sup´erieure, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Silvia De Monte

    Institut de Biologie de l'´Ecole Normale Sup´erieure, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Arne Traulsen, Reviewing Editor, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Germany

Publication history

  1. Received: May 7, 2015
  2. Accepted: November 26, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 27, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 22, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2015, Garcia et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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