Evolutionary transitions in individuality (ETIs) involve the formation of Darwinian collectives from Darwinian particles. The transition from cells to multicellular life is a prime example. During an ETI, collectives become units of selection in their own right. However, the underlying processes are poorly understood. One observation used to identify the completion of an ETI is an increase in collective-level performance accompanied by a decrease in particle-level performance, for example measured by growth rate. This seemingly counterintuitive dynamic has been referred to as 'fitness decoupling' and has been used to interpret both models and experimental data. Extending and unifying results from the literature, we show that fitness of particles and collectives can never decouple because calculations of particle and collective fitness performed over appropriate and equivalent time intervals are necessarily the same provided the population reaches a stable collective size distribution. By way of solution, we draw attention to the value of mechanistic approaches that emphasise traits, and tradeoffs among traits, as opposed to fitness. This trait-based approach is sufficient to capture dynamics that underpin evolutionary transitions. In addition, drawing upon both experimental and theoretical studies, we show that while early stages of transitions might often involve tradeoffs among particle traits, later—and critical-stages are likely to involve the rupture of such tradeoffs. Thus, when observed in the context of ETIs, tradeoff-breaking events stand as a useful marker for these transitions.
The code implementing the models is publicly available on Zenodo (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5352208)For Figure 1: Protocol described and statistical analysis performed in Hammerschmidt et al. (2014). Dataset published as Rose et al. (2018). For Figure 6b: Data taken from Colon-Lopez et al (1997); Mohr et al (2013); Misra & Tuli (2000); Berman-Frank et al (2001); Popa et al. (2007) and standardised.For Figure 6c: Data taken from the dataset published as Rose et al. (2018).
Meta-population structure and the evolutionary transition to multicellularityZenodo DOI: 10.1101/407163.
- Pierrick Bourrat
- Guilhem Doulcier
- Katrin Hammerschmidt
- Paul B Rainey
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Will Ratcliff, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States
© 2022, Bourrat 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.
5-Methylcytosine (5mC) and DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) are broadly conserved in eukaryotes but are also frequently lost during evolution. The mammalian SNF2 family ATPase HELLS and its plant ortholog DDM1 are critical for maintaining 5mC. Mutations in HELLS, its activator CDCA7, and the de novo DNA methyltransferase DNMT3B, cause immunodeficiency-centromeric instability-facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with the loss of DNA methylation. We here examine the coevolution of CDCA7, HELLS and DNMTs. While DNMT3, the maintenance DNA methyltransferase DNMT1, HELLS, and CDCA7 are all highly conserved in vertebrates and green plants, they are frequently co-lost in other evolutionary clades. The presence-absence patterns of these genes are not random; almost all CDCA7 harboring eukaryote species also have HELLS and DNMT1 (or another maintenance methyltransferase, DNMT5). Coevolution of presence-absence patterns (CoPAP) analysis in Ecdysozoa further indicates coevolutionary linkages among CDCA7, HELLS, DNMT1 and its activator UHRF1. We hypothesize that CDCA7 becomes dispensable in species that lost HELLS or DNA methylation, and/or the loss of CDCA7 triggers the replacement of DNA methylation by other chromatin regulation mechanisms. Our study suggests that a unique specialized role of CDCA7 in HELLS-dependent DNA methylation maintenance is broadly inherited from the last eukaryotic common ancestor.
Gene expression has been employed for homologizing body regions across bilateria. The molecular comparison of vertebrate and fly brains has led to a number of disputed homology hypotheses. Data from the fly Drosophila melanogaster have recently been complemented by extensive data from the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum with its more insect-typical development. In this review, we revisit the molecular mapping of the neuroectoderm of insects and vertebrates to reconsider homology hypotheses. We claim that the protocerebrum is non-segmental and homologous to the vertebrate fore- and midbrain. The boundary between antennal and ocular regions correspond to the vertebrate mid-hindbrain boundary while the deutocerebrum represents the anterior-most ganglion with serial homology to the trunk. The insect head placode is shares common embryonic origin with the vertebrate adenohypophyseal placode. Intriguingly, vertebrate eyes develop from a different region compared to the insect compound eyes calling organ homology into question. Finally, we suggest a molecular re-definition of the classic concepts of archi- and prosocerebrum.