Genetic on-off switch behind evolution of complex life

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London, June 21(ANI): A simple on-off switch seems to be the answer to the evolution of complex life.

The process of the formation of multi-cellular organisms from single cells has long been a puzzle-it requires single cells to bind together and divide the tasks of life.

Some cells must give up their ability to reproduce for doing so.

In order to investigate, Sergey Gavrilets of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville developed a mathematical model describing a colony of identical cells able to survive and reproduce.

In the simplest case, the colony evolved into organisms made of cells that were mediocre at both tasks.

But that changed when Gavrilets included genes that could suppress the activity of one trait or the other.

A colony of cells could now improve both traits at the same time, by making some cells exclusively reproducers and others survivors.

This led cells to completely specialise in less than a million generations - an evolutionary blink of an eye. (ANI)

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