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Spatial self-organization favors heterotypic cooperation over cheating.


ABSTRACT: Heterotypic cooperation-two populations exchanging distinct benefits that are costly to produce-is widespread. Cheaters, exploiting benefits while evading contribution, can undermine cooperation. Two mechanisms can stabilize heterotypic cooperation. In 'partner choice', cooperators recognize and choose cooperating over cheating partners; in 'partner fidelity feedback', fitness-feedback from repeated interactions ensures that aiding your partner helps yourself. How might a spatial environment, which facilitates repeated interactions, promote fitness-feedback? We examined this process through mathematical models and engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains incapable of recognition. Here, cooperators and their heterotypic cooperative partners (partners) exchanged distinct essential metabolites. Cheaters exploited partner-produced metabolites without reciprocating, and were competitively superior to cooperators. Despite initially random spatial distributions, cooperators gained more partner neighbors than cheaters did. The less a cheater contributed, the more it was excluded and disfavored. This self-organization, driven by asymmetric fitness effects of cooperators and cheaters on partners during cell growth into open space, achieves assortment. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00960.001.

SUBMITTER: Momeni B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3823188 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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