David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):967-987 (2005)
The fitness of any evolutionary unit can be understood in terms of its two basic components: fecundity (reproduction) and viability (survival). Trade-offs between these fitness components drive the evolution of life-history traits in extant multicellular organisms. We argue that these trade-offs gain special significance during the transition from unicellular to multicellular life. In particular, the evolution of germ–soma specialization and the emergence of individuality at the cell group (or organism) level are also consequences of trade-offs between the two basic fitness components, or so we argue using a multilevel selection approach. During the origin of multicellularity, we study how the group trade-offs between viability and fecundity are initially determined by the cell level trade-offs, but as the transition proceeds, the fitness trade-offs at the group level depart from those at the cell level. We predict that these trade-offs begin with concave curvature in single-celled organisms but become increasingly convex as group size increases in multicellular organisms. We argue that the increasingly convex curvature of the trade-off function is driven by the cost of reproduction which increases as group size increases. We consider aspects of the biology of the volvocine green algae – which contain both unicellular and multicellular members – to illustrate the principles and conclusions discussed
|Keywords||Body size Cost of reproduction Evolutionary transitions Fitness Germ–soma specialization Individuality Life-history evolution Multi-level selection Multicellularity Volvox|
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References found in this work BETA
John Maynard Smith & Eors Szathmary (1996). The Major Transitions in Evolution. Journal of the History of Biology 29 (1):151-152.
John Damuth & I. Lorraine Heisler (1988). Alternative Formulations of Multilevel Selection. Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):407-430.
Samir Okasha (2005). Multilevel Selection and the Major Transitions in Evolution. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1013-1025.
Citations of this work BETA
Argyris Arnellos, Alvaro Moreno & Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo (2014). Organizational Requirements for Multicellular Autonomy: Insights From a Comparative Case Study. Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):851-884.
Andrew F. G. Bourke (2014). The Gene’s-Eye View, Major Transitions and the Formal Darwinism Project. Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):241-248.
Beckett Sterner (2015). Pathways to Pluralism About Biological Individuality. Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):609-628.
Pierrick Bourrat (2015). Levels of Selection Are Artefacts of Different Fitness Temporal Measures. Ratio 28 (1):40-50.
Walter Bossert, Chloe X. Qi & John A. Weymark (2013). Extensive Social Choice and the Measurement of Group Fitness in Biological Hierarchies. Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):75-98.
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