Title Topological constraints in early multicellularity favor reproductive division of labor
Publication Type Journal Article
Year of Publication 2019
Authors Yanni D, Jacobeen S, Márquez-Zacarías P, Weitz JS, Ratcliff WC, Yunker PJ
Journal bioRxiv

Reproductive division of labor (e.g., germ-soma specialization) is a hallmark of the evolution of multicellularity, signifying the emergence of a new type of individual and facilitating the evolution of increased organismal complexity. A large body of work from evolutionary biology, economics, and ecology has shown that specialization is beneficial when further division of labor produces an accelerating increase in absolute productivity (i.e., productivity is a convex function of specialization). Here we show that reproductive specialization is qualitatively different from classical models of resource sharing, and can evolve even when the benefits of specialization are saturating (i.e., productivity is a concave function of specialization). Through analytical theory and evolutionary individual based simulations, our work demonstrates that reproductive specialization is strongly favored in sparse networks of cellular interactions, such as trees and filaments, that reflect the morphology of early, simple multicellular organisms, highlighting the importance of restricted social interactions in the evolution of reproductive specialization. More broadly, we find that specialization is strongly favored, despite saturating returns on investment, in a wide range of scenarios in which sharing is asymmetric.

URL https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/842849v1.abstract
DOI 10.1101/842849