Aug 6, 2014

The effect of conflicting pressures on the evolution of division of labor

PloS One
Heather J GoldsbyCharles Ofria


Within nature, many groups exhibit division of labor. Individuals in these groups are under seemingly antagonistic pressures to perform the task most directly beneficial to themselves and to potentially perform a less desirable task to ensure the success of the group. Performing experiments to study how these pressures interact in an evolutionary context is challenging with organic systems because of long generation times and difficulties related to group propagation and fine-grained control of within-group and between-group pressures. Here, we use groups of digital organisms (i.e., self-replicating computer programs) to explore how populations respond to antagonistic multilevel selection pressures. Specifically, we impose a within-group pressure to perform a highly-rewarded role and a between-group pressure to perform a diverse suite of roles. Thus, individuals specializing on highly-rewarded roles will have a within-group advantage, but groups of such specialists have a between-group disadvantage. We find that digital groups could evolve to be either single-lineage or multi-lineage, depending on experimental parameters. These group compositions are reminiscent of different kinds of major evolutionary transitions that occur wi...Continue Reading

  • References23
  • Citations2


  • References23
  • Citations2


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