A new study reveals the surprising way that family quarrels in seeds drive rapid evolution. Conflict over resources seems to play a special role in the development of certain seed tissues, according to Washington University in St. Louis research led by David Queller and Joan Strassmann in Arts & Sciences.
Using new gene sequencing techniques, Washington University biologists are taking a closer look at the behavior of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, or Dicty for short.
Evolutionary biologist W.D. Hamilton predicted that organisms ought to evolve the ability to discriminate degrees of kinship so as to refine their ability to direct help to individuals with whom they shared the most genes. But two WUSTL biologists point out that there seem to be many cases where “a veil of ignorance” prevents organisms from gaining this kind of information, forcing them to consider a situation from the perspective of all members of their group instead of solely from their own perspective or that of their close kin.