Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2002 Nov 22;269(1507):2357-62.

The costs and benefits of being a chimera.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, MS 170, 6100 Main, Houston, TX 77005, USA. krfoster@rice.edu

Abstract

Most multicellular organisms are uniclonal. This is hypothesized to be because uniclonal organisms function better than chimeras (non-clonal organisms), owing to reduced levels of internal genetic conflict. We tested this idea using the social amoeba or slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum. When starving, the normally solitary amoebae aggregate to form a differentiated multicellular slug that migrates towards light and forms a fruiting body, facilitating the dispersal of spores. We added 10(7) amoebae to Petri plates containing 1, 2, 5 or 10 clones mixed together. We found an intrinsic cost to chimerism: chimeric slugs moved significantly less far than uniclonal slugs of the same size. However, in nature, joining with other clones to form a chimera should increase slug size, and larger slugs travel further. We incorporated this size effect into a second experiment by giving chimeras more cells than single clones (single clones had 10(6) cells, two-clone chimeras had 2 x 10(6) cells and so on). The uniclonal treatments then simulated a clone in a mixture that refuses to form chimeras. In this experiment, chimeras moved significantly further than the uniclonal slugs, in spite of the intrinsic cost. Thus, chimerism is costly, which may be why it evolves so seldom, but in D. discoideum the benefits of large size appear to compensate.

PMID:
12495504
PMCID:
PMC1691165
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2002.2163
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center