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Journal Articles Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology Year : 2021

Social Conflicts in Dictyostelium discoideum: A Matter of Scales


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.
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Dates and versions

hal-03088868 , version 1 (27-12-2020)
hal-03088868 , version 2 (21-02-2021)



Mathieu Forget, Sandrine Adiba, Silvia de Monte. Social Conflicts in Dictyostelium discoideum: A Matter of Scales. Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology, 2021, ⟨10.24072/pcjournal.39⟩. ⟨hal-03088868v2⟩
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