The evolution of natural competence: disentangling costs and benefits of sex in bacteria

Moradigaravand, Danesh and Engelstädter, Jan (2013) The evolution of natural competence: disentangling costs and benefits of sex in bacteria. American Naturalist, 182 4: E112-E126. doi:10.1086/671909

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Author Moradigaravand, Danesh
Engelstädter, Jan
Title The evolution of natural competence: disentangling costs and benefits of sex in bacteria
Journal name American Naturalist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-0147
Publication date 2013-10-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1086/671909
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 182
Issue 4
Start page E112
End page E126
Total pages 15
Place of publication Chicago, IL, United States
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Language eng
Abstract One of the most challenging questions in evolutionary biology is how sex has evolved in the face of substantial fitness costs. In this study, we focus on the evolution of bacterial sex in the form of natural transformation, where cells take up exogenous DNA and integrate it into the genome. Besides the physiological cost of producing a DNA uptake system, transformation can potentially impose a genetic cost as a result of an overrepresentation of deleterious mutations in the extracellular DNA pool. On the other hand, the uptake of DNA can be beneficial not only because of genetic effects but also because of the immediate nutritional value of the DNA. To disentangle these fitness costs and benefits, we developed a mathematical model and competed three bacterial types during adaptation to a new environment: competent cells capable of DNA import and digestion; competent cells capable of DNA import, digestion, and recombination; and noncompetent cells. Our results indicate a complex interplay between several physiological and ecological factors, including the rate at which DNA is taken up, the rate of DNA decay in the medium, and the nutritional value of DNA. In finite populations, the recombining type is often favored through the Fisher- Muller effect.
Keyword Adaptation
Costs of sex
Evolution of sex and recombination
Fisher-Muller effect
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID PZ00P3_ 132934
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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