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Programmed cell death as a black queen in microbial communities

Ndhlovu, Andrew and Durand, Pierre and Ramsey, Grant (2020) Programmed cell death as a black queen in microbial communities. Molecular Ecology. pp. 1-10.

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Abstract

Programmed cell death (PCD) in unicellular organisms is in some instances an altruistic trait. When the beneficiaries are clones or close kin, kin selection theory may be used to explain the evolution of the trait, and when the trait evolves in groups of distantly related individuals, group or multilevel selection theory is invoked. In mixed microbial communities, the benefits are also available to unrelated taxa. But the evolutionary ecology of PCD in communities is poorly understood. Few hypotheses have been offered concerning the community role of PCD despite its far-reaching effects. The hypothesis we consider here is that PCD is a black queen. The Black Queen Hypothesis (BQH) outlines how public goods arising from a leaky function are exploited by other taxa in the community. Black Queen (BQ) traits are essential for community survival, but only some members bear the cost of possessing them, while others lose the trait In addition, BQ traits have been defined in terms of adaptive gene loss, and it is unknown whether this has occurred for PCD. Our conclusion is that PCD fulfils the two most important criteria of a BQ (leakiness and costliness), but that more empirical data are needed for assessing the remaining two criteria. In addition, we hold that for viewing PCD as a BQ, the original BQH needs to include social traits. Thus, despite some empirical and conceptual shortcomings, the BQH provides a helpful avenue for investigating PCD in microbial communities.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ndhlovu, Andrewandhlovu@sun.ac.za0000-0003-0984-240X
Durand, Pierrepierre.durand@wits.ac.za0000-0002-9614-1371
Ramsey, Grantgrant@theramseylab.org0000-0002-8712-5521
Keywords: adaptation, black queen hypothesis, microbial ecology, programmed cell death, public goods
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Depositing User: Dr. Grant Ramsey
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2021 21:10
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2021 21:10
Item ID: 18641
Journal or Publication Title: Molecular Ecology
Publisher: Wiley
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15757
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1111/mec.15757
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Date: 25 November 2020
Page Range: pp. 1-10
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18641

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