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Am Nat. 2010 Jul;176(1):83-9. doi: 10.1086/652995.

Competition and dispersal in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom.


Dispersal plays a crucial role in a range of evolutionary and ecological processes; hence there is strong motivation to understand its evolution. One key prediction is that the relative benefits of dispersal should be greater when dispersing away from close relatives, because in this case dispersal has the additional benefit of alleviating competition with individuals who share the same dispersal alleles. We tested this prediction for the first time using experimental populations of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We measured the fitness of isogenic genotypes that differed only in their dispersal behaviors in both clonal and mixed populations. Consistent with theory, the benefit of dispersal was much higher in clonal populations, and this benefit decreased with increasing growth rate costs associated with dispersal.

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