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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Apr;24:21-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.12.007. Epub 2015 Jan 16.

On the evolution of bacterial multicellularity.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, United States.
2
Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, United States. Electronic address: rkolter@hms.harvard.edu.

Abstract

Multicellularity is one of the most prevalent evolutionary innovations and nowhere is this more apparent than in the bacterial world, which contains many examples of multicellular organisms in a surprising array of forms. Due to their experimental accessibility and the large and diverse genomic data available, bacteria enable us to probe fundamental aspects of the origins of multicellularity. Here we discuss examples of multicellular behaviors in bacteria, the selective pressures that may have led to their evolution, possible origins and intermediate stages, and whether the ubiquity of apparently convergent multicellular forms argues for its inevitability.

PMID:
25597443
PMCID:
PMC4380822
DOI:
10.1016/j.mib.2014.12.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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