A generalization of hamilton's rule for the evolution of microbial cooperation

Jeff Smith, J. David Van Dyken, Peter C. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hamilton's rule states that cooperation will evolve if the fitness cost to actors is less than the benefit to recipients multiplied by their genetic relatedness. This rule makes many simplifying assumptions, however, and does not accurately describe social evolution in organisms such as microbes where selection is both strong and nonadditive. We derived a generalization of Hamilton's rule and measured its parameters in Myxococcus xanthus bacteria. Nonadditivity made cooperative sporulation remarkably resistant to exploitation by cheater strains. Selection was driven by higher-order moments of population structure, not relatedness. These results provide an empirically testable cooperation principle applicable to both microbes and multicellular organisms and show how nonlinear interactions among cells insulate bacteria against cheaters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1700-1703
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume328
Issue number5986
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 25 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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