1. Evolutionary Biology
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Evolution: How geometry shapes division of labor

  1. Merlijn Staps
  2. Corina Tarnita  Is a corresponding author
  1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e63328 doi: 10.7554/eLife.63328
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How geometry influences cell differentiation.

Many multicellular organisms have evolved germ-soma differentiation — a division of labor between germ cells, specialized for reproduction, and somatic cells, which help the organism survive. Yanni et al. show that multicellular organisms with a sparse cellular geometry, such as the structure shown here, are more likely to evolve germ-soma differentiation. In such organisms, germ cells (purple) can alternate positions with somatic cells (blue), so the survival investments made by somatic cells exclusively benefit germ cells (gray arrows).

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