News From the Field
Amoebae Control Cheating by Keeping It in the Family
July 5, 2007
Rice University researchers have shown how cooperative, single-celled amoebae rely on family ties to keep cheaters from undermining the health of their colonies. In a study combining careful fieldwork with painstaking laboratory research, biologists examined thousands of spores of the soil microbe Dictyostelium discoideum
. Field studies revealed high-relatedness in wild colonies and laboratory studies showed that cheating mutants couldn't gain a foothold in highly related colonies.
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