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  • 1.
    Bastiaans, Eric
    et al.
    Laboratory of Genetics, Wageningen University, Wageningen.
    Debets, Alfons J. M.
    Aanen, Duur K.
    Experimental demonstration of the benefits of somatic fusion and the consequences for allorecognition2015In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 69, no 4, p. 1091-1099Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Allorecognition, the ability to distinguish “self” from “nonself” based on allelic differences at allorecognition loci, is common in all domains of life. Allorecognition restricts the opportunities for social parasitism, and is therefore crucial for the evolution of cooperation. However, the maintenance of allorecognition diversity provides a paradox. If allorecognition is costly relative to cooperation, common alleles will be favored. Thus, the cost of allorecognition may reduce the genetic variation upon which allorecognition crucially relies, a prediction now known as “Crozier’s paradox.” We establish the relative costs of allorecognition, and their consequences for the short-term evolution of recognition labels theoretically predicted by Crozier. We use fusion among colonies of the fungus Neurospora crassa, regulated by highly variable allorecognition genes, as an experimental model system. We demonstrate that fusion among colonies is mutually beneficial, relative to absence of fusion upon allorecognition. This benefit is due not only to absence of mutual antagonism, which occurs upon allorecognition, but also to an increase in colony size per se. We then experimentally demonstrate that the benefit of fusion selects against allorecognition diversity, as predicted by Crozier. We discuss what maintains allorecognition diversity.

  • 2.
    Bastiaans, Eric
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology. Wageningen University.
    Debets, Alfons J. M.
    Aanen, Duur K.
    Experimental evolution reveals that high relatedness protects multicellular cooperation from cheaters2016In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 7, article id 11435Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In multicellular organisms, there is a potential risk that cheating mutants gain access to the germline. Development from a single-celled zygote resets relatedness among cells to its maximum value each generation, which should accomplish segregation of cheating mutants from non-cheaters and thereby protect multicellular cooperation. Here we provide the crucial direct comparison between high- and low-relatedness conditions to test this hypothesis. We allow two variants of the fungus Neurospora crassa to evolve, one with and one without the ability to form chimeras with other individuals, thus generating two relatedness levels. While multicellular cooperation remains high in the high-relatedness lines, it significantly decreases in all replicate low-relatedness lines, resulting in an average threefold decrease in spore yield. This reduction is caused by cheating mutants with reduced investment in somatic functions, but increased competitive success when fusing with non-cheaters. Our experiments demonstrate that high-genetic relatedness is crucial to sustain multicellular cooperation.

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