Range expansion promotes cooperation in an experimental microbial metapopulation
Author(s)Datta, Manoshi Sen; Korolev, Kirill Sergeevich; Dudley, Carmel R.; Gore, Jeff; Cvijovic, Ivana
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Natural populations throughout the tree of life undergo range expansions in response to changes in the environment. Recent theoretical work suggests that range expansions can have a strong effect on evolution, even leading to the fixation of deleterious alleles that would normally be outcompeted in the absence of migration. However, little is known about how range expansions might influence alleles under frequency- or density-dependent selection. Moreover, there is very little experimental evidence to complement existing theory, since expanding populations are difficult to study in the natural environment. In this study, we have used a yeast experimental system to explore the effect of range expansions on the maintenance of cooperative behaviors, which commonly display frequency- and density-dependent selection and are widespread in nature. We found that range expansions favor the maintenance of cooperation in two ways: (i) through the enrichment of cooperators at the front of the expanding population and (ii) by allowing cooperators to “outrun” an invading wave of defectors. In this system, cooperation is enhanced through the coupling of population ecology and evolutionary dynamics in expanding populations, thus providing experimental evidence for a unique mechanism through which cooperative behaviors could be maintained in nature.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Computational and Systems Biology Program; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Datta, M. S., K. S. Korolev, I. Cvijovic, C. Dudley, and J. Gore. “Range expansion promotes cooperation in an experimental microbial metapopulation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 18 (April 30, 2013): 7354-7359.
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