Cheating favors extinction

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 20:00 in Biology & Nature

Cooperative behavior is widely observed in nature, but there remains the possibility that 'cheaters' can exploit the system, with uncertain consequences for the social unit as a whole. A new study has found that a yeast colony dominated by non-producers ('cheaters') is more likely to face extinction than one consisting entirely of producers ('co-operators'). The findings are the results of the first laboratory demonstration of a full evolutionary-ecological feedback loop in a social microbial population.

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