Observing bacteria through the lens of social evolution
1 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
2 Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
3 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA
Journal of Biology 2008, 7:27 doi:10.1186/jbiol87Published: 30 September 2008
Explaining the evolution of cooperative behavior is a long-standing problem for which much theory has been developed. A recent paper in BMC Biology tests central elements of this theory by manipulating a simple bacterial experimental system. This approach is useful for assessing the principles of social evolution, but we argue that more effort must be invested in the inverse problem: using social evolution theory to understand the lives of bacteria.