Cell competition results in the loss of weaker cells and the dominance of stronger cells. So-called 'loser' cells are either removed by active elimination or by limiting their access to survival factors. Recently, competition has been shown to serve as a surveillance mechanism against emerging aberrant cells in both the developing and adult organism, contributing to overall organism fitness and survival. Here, we explore the origins and implications of cell competition in development, tissue homeostasis, and in vitro culture. We also provide a forward look on the use of cell competition to interpret multicellular dynamics while offering a perspective on harnessing competition to engineer cells with optimized and controllable fitness characteristics for regenerative medicine applications.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.