Phenotypic heterogeneity and the evolution of metabolic cross-feeding interactions

Metabolic cross-feeding, in which two or more bacterial genotypes exchange costly metabolites, is very common in the microbial world. Strikingly, two populations that divide their metabolic labour in this way can gain significant fitness advantages relative to cells that produce all metabolites autonomously. Evolutionary theory, however, predicts that individuals should not invest costly resources into non-relatives, but rather cooperate with their own 'kin'. This project will determine the impact of genetic relatedness for the evolution of metabolic cross-feeding interactions and identify the role phenotypic heterogeneity plays during this process.

Contact details:
Prof. Dr. Christian Kost
Departmant of Ecology
School of Biology/ Chemistry
University of Osnabrück
Barbarastrasse 13
49076 Osnabrück, Germany
Tel: +49 541 969-2853
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  • Samir Giri (Doctoral student, funded by SPP1617)