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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)
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)
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 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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