Author Topic: Useful article on multicellularity  (Read 1574 times)

Offline Numsgil

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Useful article on multicellularity
« on: November 21, 2005, 04:36:07 PM »
Article .

The evolutionary transition from single cells toward multicellular forms of life represents one of the major transitions in the evolution of complex organisms. In this transition, single autonomously reproducing cells became parts of larger reproducing entities that eventually constituted a new unit of selection. The first step in the evolutionary transition to multicellularity likely was the evolution of simple, undifferentiated cell clusters. However, what the selective advantage of such cell clusters may have been remains unclear. Here, we argue that in populations of unicellular organisms with cooperative behavior, clustering may be beneficial by reducing interactions with noncooperative individuals. In support of this hypothesis, we present a set of computer simulations showing that clustering can evolve as a biological, heritable trait for cells that cooperate in the use of external energy resources. Following the evolution of simple cell clusters, further benefits could have arisen from the exchange of resources between cells of a cluster.