Fragmentation modes and the evolution of life cycles.

Pichugin, Yuriy, Pena, Jorge , Rainey, Paul B. and Traulsen, Arne (2017) Fragmentation modes and the evolution of life cycles. Open Access PLOS Computational Biology, 13 (11). e1005860. DOI 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005860.

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Abstract

Reproduction is a defining feature of living systems. To reproduce, aggregates of biological units (e.g., multicellular organisms or colonial bacteria) must fragment into smaller parts. Fragmentation modes in nature range from binary fission in bacteria to collective-level fragmentation and the production of unicellular propagules in multicellular organisms. Despite this apparent ubiquity, the adaptive significance of fragmentation modes has received little attention. Here, we develop a model in which groups arise from the division of single cells that do not separate but stay together until the moment of group fragmentation. We allow for all possible fragmentation patterns and calculate the population growth rate of each associated life cycle. Fragmentation modes that maximise growth rate comprise a restrictive set of patterns that include production of unicellular propagules and division into two similar size groups. Life cycles marked by single-cell bottlenecks maximise population growth rate under a wide range of conditions. This surprising result offers a new evolutionary explanation for the widespread occurrence of this mode of reproduction. All in all, our model provides a framework for exploring the adaptive significance of fragmentation modes and their associated life cycles.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Marine Evolutionary Ecology
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005860
ISSN: 1553-7358
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 09:23
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:17
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/40863

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