Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 7;109(6):E326-35. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110521109. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Evolution of functional specialization and division of labor.

Author information

1
Mathematics and Biosciences Group, Department of Mathematics, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria. claus.rueffler@univie.ac.at

Abstract

Division of labor among functionally specialized modules occurs at all levels of biological organization in both animals and plants. Well-known examples include the evolution of specialized enzymes after gene duplication, the evolution of specialized cell types, limb diversification in arthropods, and the evolution of specialized colony members in many taxa of marine invertebrates and social insects. Here, we identify conditions favoring the evolution of division of labor by means of a general mathematical model. Our starting point is the assumption that modules contribute to two different biological tasks and that the potential of modules to contribute to these tasks is traded off. Our results are phrased in terms of properties of performance functions that map the phenotype of modules to measures of performance. We show that division of labor is favored by three factors: positional effects that predispose modules for one of the tasks, accelerating performance functions, and synergistic interactions between modules. If modules can be lost or damaged, selection for robustness can counteract selection for functional specialization. To illustrate our theory we apply it to the evolution of specialized enzymes coded by duplicated genes.

PMID:
22308336
PMCID:
PMC3277576
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1110521109
[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