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Evolutionary explanations for heterogeneous behavior in clonal bacterial populations
Clonal bacteria often have different phenotypes. In this work, Rolf Kümmerli and his UC Irvine collaborator Steven A. Frank explore the question why - despite bacterial cells' identical genetic make-up and environmental conditions - this is the case. First, they discuss the two most popular adaptive explanations for cellular heterogeneity: division of labor and bet hedging. Then, they offer two alternative evolutionary explanations: group-level phenotypes and variation in cellular vigor.
See Kümmerli and Frank, Trends in Microbiology
Figure 1. Phenotypic heterogeneity induced by group-level phenotypes and variation in cellular vigor.