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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Aug 3;96(16):9148-53.

Heritable germ and somatic cell lineage competitions in chimeric colonial protochordates.

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1
Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA.

Abstract

Theories of evolution that state natural selection acts on individuals have been modified to include multiple levels of selection. Here we demonstrate in chimeric protochordates that primitive germ cell (pgc) and somatic cell (psc) lineages have traits that also make them likely units of natural selection. Specifically, by using microsatellites to determine the genetic identity of various somatic and gametic tissues within vascularly fused Botryllus schlosseri chimeras, we show that genetically distinct pgc and psc can compete for access to developing gonads and somatic organs, and that this competition is hierarchical, reproducible, and heritable. Given that a single, highly polymorphic locus (Fu/HC) controls whether two contacting colonies fuse or reject, our findings also support a leading hypothesis for why the highly polymorphic histocompatibility loci common to many metazoa may have arisen or been maintained: to limit supercompetitor lineages to histocompatible kin.

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PMID:
10430910
PMCID:
PMC17747
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.96.16.9148
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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