The evolution of social behavior in microorganisms

Trends Ecol Evol. 2001 Apr 1;16(4):178-183. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5347(01)02115-2.


Recent studies of microorganisms have revealed diverse complex social behaviors, including cooperation in foraging, building, reproducing, dispersing and communicating. These microorganisms should provide novel, tractable systems for the analysis of social evolution. The application of evolutionary and ecological theory to understanding their behavior will aid in developing better means to control the many pathogenic bacteria that use social interactions to affect humans.