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Old 01-19-2011, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default Primitive Agriculture in a Social Amoeba

Farming apparently got an earlier start than previously recognized...

From “Nature” Volume 469 (20 January 2011), pp. 393–396; published online
19 January 2011 - see Primitive agriculture in a social amoeba : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

"Here we show that the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has a primitive farming symbiosis that includes dispersal and prudent harvesting of the crop. About one-third of wild-collected clones engage in husbandry of bacteria. Instead of consuming all bacteria in their patch, they stop feeding early and incorporate bacteria into their fruiting bodies. They then carry bacteria during spore dispersal and can seed a new food crop, which is a major advantage if edible bacteria are lacking at the new site. However, if they arrive at sites already containing appropriate bacteria, the costs of early feeding cessation are not compensated for, which may account for the dichotomous nature of this farming symbiosis. The striking convergent evolution between bacterial husbandry in social amoebas and fungus farming in social insects makes sense because multigenerational benefits of farming go to already established kin groups."
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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That *is* interesting.

I think there are a lot of things out there that we've yet to recognize.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:13 PM   #3
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That is astonishing!
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