Originally Published In
J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2016 May;63(3):378-83. doi: 10.1111/jeu.12307.
Presentation delivered at the symposium Evidence of Taxa, Clone, and Kin Discrimination in Protists: Ecological and Evolutionary Implications, VII European Congress of Protistology, University of Seville, 5–10 September 2015, Seville Spain.
Evolved cooperation is stable only when the benefactor is compensated, either directly or through its relatives. Social amoebae cooperate by forming a mobile multicellular body in which, about 20% of participants ultimately die to form a stalk. This benefits the remaining individuals that become hardy spores at the top of the stalk, together making up the fruiting body. In studied species with stalked migration, P. violaceum, D. purpureum, and D. giganteum, sorting based on clone identity occurs in laboratory mixes, maintaining high relatedness within the fruiting bodies. D. discoideum has unstalked migration, where cell fate is not fixed until the slug forms a fruiting body. Laboratory mixes show some degree of both spatial and genotype-based sorting, yet most laboratory fruiting bodies remain chimeric. However, wild fruiting bodies are made up mostly of clonemates. A genetic mechanism for sorting is likely to be cell adhesion genes tgrB1 and tgrC1, which bind to each other. They are highly variable, as expected for a kin discrimination gene. It is a puzzle that these genes do not cause stronger discrimination between mixed wild clones, but laboratory conditions or strong sorting early in the social stage diminished by later slug fusion could be explanations.
Strassmann, Joan E., "Kin Discrimination in Dictyostelium Social Amoebae" (2016). Biology Faculty Publications & Presentations. 116.