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A polychromatic 'greenbeard' locus determines patterns of cooperation in a social amoeba

Gruenheit, N; Parkinson, K; Stewart, B; Howie, JA; Wolf, JB; Thompson, CRL; (2017) A polychromatic 'greenbeard' locus determines patterns of cooperation in a social amoeba. Nature Communications , 8 , Article 14171. 10.1038/ncomms14171. Green open access

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Abstract

Cheaters disrupt cooperation by reaping the benefits without paying their fair share of associated costs. Cheater impact can be diminished if cooperators display a tag (‘greenbeard’) and recognise and preferentially direct cooperation towards other tag carriers. Despite its popular appeal, the feasibility of such greenbeards has been questioned because the complex patterns of partner-specific cooperative behaviours seen in nature require greenbeards to come in different colours. Here we show that a locus (‘Tgr’) of a social amoeba represents a polychromatic greenbeard. Patterns of natural Tgr locus sequence polymorphisms predict partner-specific patterns of cooperation by underlying variation in partner-specific protein–protein binding strength and recognition specificity. Finally, Tgr locus polymorphisms increase fitness because they help avoid potential costs of cooperating with incompatible partners. These results suggest that a polychromatic greenbeard can provide a key mechanism for the evolutionary maintenance of cooperation.

Type: Article
Title: A polychromatic 'greenbeard' locus determines patterns of cooperation in a social amoeba
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14171
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14171
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, DNA-SEQUENCING DATA, DICTYOSTELIUM-DISCOIDEUM, SELF-RECOGNITION, ALTRUISM, EVOLUTION, GENE, SELECTION, SIGNALS, PROTEIN, GENOME
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10032058
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