Among the most important innovations in the history of life is the transition from single-celled organisms to more complex, multicellular organisms. Multicellularity has evolved repeatedly across the tree of life, resulting in the evolution of new kinds of organisms that collectively constitute a significant portion of Earth's biodiversity and have transformed the biosphere. The Evolution of Multicellularity examines the origins and subsequent evolution of multicellularity, reviewing the types of multicellular groups that exist, their evolutionary relationships, the processes that led to their evolution, and the conceptual frameworks in which their evolution is understood. This important volume is intended to serve as a jumping-off point, stimulating further research by summarizing the topics that students and researchers of the evolution of multicellularity should be familiar with, and highlighting future research directions for the field.
List of Contributors
1. Introduction: The Evolution of Multicellularity in Context / Matthew D. Herron, Peter L. Conlin, and William C. Ratcliff
2. Getting at the Basics of Multicellularity / Maureen A. O’Malley
3. Multi-Level Selection of the Individual Organism / Richard E. Michod
4. Life Cycles as a Central Organizing Theme for Studying Multicellularity / Merlijn Staps, Jordi van Gestel, and Corina E. Tarnita
5. Eukaryote Aggregative Multicellularity: Phylogenetic Distribution and a Case Study of Its Proximate and Ultimate Cause in Dictyostelia / Pauline Schaap
6. Group Formation: On the Evolution of Aggregative Multicellularity / Marco La Fortezza, Kaitlin A. Schaal, and Gregory J. Velicer
7. Group Maintenance in Aggregative Multicellularity / Israt Jahan, Tyler Larsen, Joan E. Strassmann, and David C. Queller
8. Group Transformation: Fruiting Body and Stalk Formation / Cathleen Broersma and Elizabeth A. Ostrowski
9. Phylogenetics of Clonal Multicellularity / Michelle M. Leger and Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo
10. Group Formation: Hypotheses for the Evolution of Clonal Multicellularity / Stefania E. Kapsetaki and Roberta M. Fisher
11. Group Maintenance in Clonal Multicellularity: Controlling Intra-organismal Evolution / Aurora M. Nedelcu and Alexander N. May
12. Group Transformation: Life History Trade-offs, Division of Labor, and Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality / Guilhem Doulcier, Katrin Hammerschmidt, and Pierrick Bourrat
13. The Single-Celled Ancestors of Animals: A History of Hypotheses / Thibaut Brunet and Nicole King
14. Convergent Evolution of Complex Multicellularity in Fungi / László G. Nagy
15. Genetic and Developmental Mechanisms of Cellular Differentiation in Algae / Susana M. Coelho and J. Mark Cock
16. The Evolution of Complex Multicellularity in Streptophytes / Liam N. Briginshaw and John L. Bowman
17. Multi-Species Multicellular Life Cycles / Rebecka Andersson, Hanna Isaksson, and Eric Libby
Conclusion: The Future of Multicellularity Research / William C. Ratcliff, Peter L. Conlin, and Matthew D. Herron
Matthew D. Herron is a Senior Research Scientist in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the University of Arizona and held postdoctoral positions at the University of British Columbia, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and the University of Montana. He has authored or co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers.
William C. Ratcliff is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he co-directs the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota. At Tech, he leads a research group that examines the evolution of multicellularity through directed evolution, synthetic biology, and mathematical modelling.
Peter L. Conlin is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the University of Washington. He has authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific papers.
"The emergence of multicellular organisms is one of the most striking transitions in evolution. This nicely illustrated volume covers this topic from many angles, with 18 chapters by outstanding researchers in this fascinating and productive field."
– Richard Lenski, Michigan State University
"No major transition was more major than that from single-celled to multicellular life. The editors of and contributors to The Evolution of Multicellularity do a wonderful job walking the reader through that transition. I heartily recommend this book to (multicellular) readers everywhere."
– Lee Dugatkin, University of Louisville