Cooperators who pay a cost to produce publically-available benefits can be exploited by cheaters who do not contribute fairly. How might cooperation persist against cheaters? Two classes of mechanisms are known to promote cooperation: 'partner choice', where a cooperator preferentially interacts with cooperative over cheating partners; and 'partner fidelity feedback' (PFF), where repeated interactions between individuals ensure that cheaters suffer as their cooperative partners languish (see, for example, Momeni et al., 2013). However when both mechanisms can act, differentiating them has generated controversy. Here, I resolve this controversy by noting that selection can operate on organismal and sub-organismal 'entities' such that partner fidelity feedback at sub-organismal level can appear as partner choice at organismal level. I also show that cooperation between multicellular eukaryotes and mitochondria is promoted by partner fidelity feedback and partner choice between sub-organismal entities, in addition to being promoted by partner fidelity feedback between hosts and symbionts, as was previously known.
- Diethard Tautz, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Germany
© 2015, Shou
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