Exploring the Origin of Multicellularity Through Experimental Evolution

Exploring the Origin of Multicellularity Through Experimental Evolution

November 29, 2017


727 E. Tyler St.
Tempe, AZ 85287


Biodesign Institute, Auditorium

Date and Time

December 7, 2017, 1:30 pm (Length: 1 hour 0 minutes)

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Presented by Will Ratcliff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology.

The origin of multicellularity was one of the most significant innovations in the history of life. Our understanding of the evolutionary processes underlying this transition remains limited, however, mainly because extant multicellular lineages are ancient and most transitional forms have been lost to extinction. To bridge this knowledge gap, Ratcliff’s lab evolves novel multicellularity in vivo, using baker’s yeast and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as model systems. Hear about their recent examinations of how cells evolve to form multicellular clusters, how these clusters become “Darwinian individuals” capable of adaptation, how multicellular lifecycles that include single-celled genetic bottlenecks arise in evolution (and why this is important) and how nascent multicellular entities evolve to be more complex. Ratcliff’s approach allows for the study of macroevolutionary processes over microevolutionary timescales and demonstrates that multicellularity is less evolutionarily constrained than previously thought.

This candidate seminar is hosted by the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution and the School of Life Sciences.