May 16, 2014

The evolutionary origin of somatic cells under the dirty work hypothesis

PLoS Biology
Heather J GoldsbyBenjamin Kerr

Abstract

Reproductive division of labor is a hallmark of multicellular organisms. However, the evolutionary pressures that give rise to delineated germ and somatic cells remain unclear. Here we propose a hypothesis that the mutagenic consequences associated with performing metabolic work favor such differentiation. We present evidence in support of this hypothesis gathered using a computational form of experimental evolution. Our digital organisms begin each experiment as undifferentiated multicellular individuals, and can evolve computational functions that improve their rate of reproduction. When such functions are associated with moderate mutagenic effects, we observe the evolution of reproductive division of labor within our multicellular organisms. Specifically, a fraction of the cells remove themselves from consideration as propagules for multicellular offspring, while simultaneously performing a disproportionately large amount of mutagenic work, and are thus classified as soma. As a consequence, other cells are able to take on the role of germ, remaining quiescent and thus protecting their genetic information. We analyze the lineages of multicellular organisms that successfully differentiate and discover that they display unfores...Continue Reading

  • References33
  • Citations13

References

  • References33
  • Citations13

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Metabolic Process, Cellular
In Silico
Biochemical Pathway
Genome
Pseudo brand of pseudoephedrine
Cell Division
Oxidative Stress
Oxidative Stress Analysis
Chloroplasts
Cell Differentiation Process

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