NDSU Calendar

Friday, January 27, 2017
Department of Biological Sciences (Conference/Workshop/Seminar)

William Driscoll, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota, St Paul, will present a seminar entitled, "The Experimental Evolution of Cooperation, Coexistence, and Complex Life Cycles during the Transition to Multicellularity".

Everyone is welcome! Thank you for your support!

The evolution of multicellularity has played a central role in the history of life on Earth. The transition to multicellular life required the evolution of extensive inter-cellular cooperation, including altruistic self-sacrifice (e.g. programmed cell death). However, several lines of evidence suggest that multicellularity can be undermined by selfish 'cheater' lineages, which may invade cooperative groups through social aggregation (as in the case of slime molds) or arise through "de novo" mutations (as in the case of cancer). Nevertheless, multicellularity has evolved repeatedly, including at least three independent origins of multicellular algae (red, brown, and green [including land plants]), as well as animals, fungi, and numerous less-prominent clades (e.g. aggregative eukaryotes, peritrich ciliates). How could natural selection have repeatedly favored cooperation in the unicellular ancestors of these organisms, despite the competitive advantages of selfishness? I will be discussing the experimental evolution of multicellularity in initially unicellular microbes, especially the haploid 'dairy yeast' "Kluyveromyces lactis". I will report evidence for cooperation by multicellular clusters, 'free-riding' by selfish unicellular genotypes, and the evolution of a complex life cycle incorporating both unicellular and multicellular stages. Finally, I will draw on these results to suggest new perspectives and solutions for the challenge of cooperation during the evolution of multicellularity.

More information...
Location: Sudro 24
Price: free and open to public
Host: Department of Biological Sciences
Contact: Wendy J. Leach
(701) 231-7087

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