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Agriculture has been a large part of the ecological success of humans. A handful of animals, notably the fungus-growing ants, termites and ambrosia beetles, have advanced agriculture that involves dispersal and seeding of food propagules, cultivation of the crop and sustainable harvesting. More primitive examples, which could be called husbandry because(More)
Much remains to be understood about how a group of cells or a tissue senses and regulates its size. Dictyostelium discoideum cells sense and regulate the size of groups and fruiting bodies using a secreted 450-kDa complex of proteins called counting factor (CF). Low levels of CF result in large groups, and high levels of CF result in small groups. We(More)
BACKGROUND Altruism can be favored by high relatedness among interactants. We tested the effect of relatedness in experimental populations of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, where altruism occurs in a starvation-induced social stage when some amoebae die to form a stalk that lifts the fertile spores above the soil facilitating dispersal. The(More)
The evolution of multicellularity is a major transition that is not yet fully understood. Specifically, we do not know whether there are any mechanisms by which multicellularity can be maintained without a single-cell bottleneck or other relatedness-enhancing mechanisms. Under low relatedness, cheaters can evolve that benefit from the altruistic behaviour(More)
The bacterial partners in symbiotic relationships with eukaryotes can have a powerful effect on the phenotypic traits of the host. Here we explore this issue using a simple model eukaryote, Dictyostelium discoideum, and its facultative bacterial symbionts. Some clones of the social amoeba D. discoideum, called farmers, maintain symbiotic relationships with(More)
The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is unusual among eukaryotes in having both unicellular and multicellular stages. In the multicellular stage, some cells, called sentinels, ingest toxins, waste and bacteria. The sentinel cells ultimately fall away from the back of the migrating slug, thus removing these substances from the slug. However, some D.(More)
Cooperative systems are susceptible to invasion by selfish individuals that profit from receiving the social benefits but fail to contribute. These so-called "cheaters" can have a fitness advantage in the laboratory, but it is unclear whether cheating provides an important selective advantage in nature. We used a population genomic approach to examine the(More)
The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum interacts with bacteria in a variety of ways. It is a predator of bacteria, can be infected or harmed by bacteria, and can form symbiotic associations with bacteria. Some clones of D. discoideum function as primitive farmers because they carry bacteria through the normally sterile D. discoideum social stage, then(More)
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