Reciprocal Rewards Stabilize Cooperation in Mycorrhizal Sym

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Reciprocal Rewards Stabilize Cooperation in Mycorrhizal Sym

Post by edfrank » Mon May 21, 2012 1:25 pm

Reciprocal Rewards Stabilize Cooperation in the Mycorrhizal Symbiosis

E. Toby Kiers,1*† Marie Duhamel,1,2 Yugandhar Beesetty,3,4 Jerry A. Mensah,4
Oscar Franken,1 Erik Verbruggen,1 Carl R. Fellbaum,4 George A. Kowalchuk,1,5
Miranda M. Hart,6 Alberto Bago,7‡ Todd M. Palmer,8 Stuart A. West,9
Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse,2 Jan Jansa,10 Heike Bücking4†

This paper is about plants and how their arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal symbionts interact in complex underground
networks involving multiple partners. This increases the potential for exploitation and defection
by individuals, raising the question of how partners maintain a fair, two-way transfer of resources.
We manipulated cooperation in plants and fungal partners to show that plants can detect,
discriminate, and reward the best fungal partners with more carbohydrates. In turn, their fungal
partners enforce cooperation by increasing nutrient transfer only to those roots providing more
carbohydrates. On the basis of these observations we conclude that, unlike many other mutualisms,
the symbiont cannot be “enslaved.” Rather, the mutualism is evolutionarily stable because control
is bidirectional, and partners offering the best rate of exchange are rewarded.

http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/group/west/pdf/ ... tal_11.pdf
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