Evolutionary Biology

Social conflicts in Dictyostelium discoideum : a matter of scales

10.24072/pcjournal.39 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article no. e58.

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The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, where aggregation of genetically heterogeneous cells produces functional collective structures, epitomizes social conflicts associated with multicellular organization. 'Cheater' populations that have a higher chance - quantified by a positive spore bias - of surviving to the next generation when mixed with cooperators bear a selective advantage. Their spread is thus expected to undermine collective functions over evolutionary times. In this review, we discuss the two main approaches adopted to conceptualize social conflicts in Dictyostelium discoideum: describing social interactions as a property of cell populations (strains), or as a result of individual cell choices during the developmental process. These two points of view are often held equivalent and used interchangeably. While the population-level view grants more direct evolutionary inference, however, the cell-level interpretation reveals that such evolutionary predictions may be modified if mechanisms such as dependence on the environment, development and intrinsic unpredictability of cell fate choices are taken into account. We conclude by proposing a set of open questions that in our opinion lie at the core of a multi-scale description of aggregative life cycles, where the formulation of predictive evolutionary models would include cell-level mechanisms responsible for spore bias alongside population-level descriptors of multicellular organization.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.39
Forget, Mathieu 1, 2; Adiba, Sandrine 2; De Monte, Silvia 1, 2

1 Department of Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany
2 Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, Département de Biologie, Ecole Normale Supérieure, CNRS, INSERM, PSL Research University, Paris, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
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Forget, Mathieu; Adiba, Sandrine; De Monte, Silvia. Social conflicts in Dictyostelium discoideum : a matter of scales. Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article  no. e58. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.39. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.39/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100122

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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