Multicellular organisms evolved to resolve conflicts between individual cells, protecting the internal organization of the individual. This is illustrated by cell competition, a process that eliminates suboptimal cells from growing tissues by apoptosis. Since its early characterization in Drosophila an increasing number of conditions have been associated with competition, and mounting evidence demonstrates conservation of this process. We describe here the broad range of contexts that utilize cell competition, including tissue health, aging, and tumor development. We then delineate different models for the processes underlying the recognition and elimination of outcompeted cells.
Keywords: aging; cell competition; cell fitness; fitness fingerprints; mechanics; trophic theory; tumor.
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