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Research Article

A Mixture of “Cheats” and “Co-Operators” Can Enable Maximal Group Benefit

  • R. Craig MacLean equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: R. Craig MacLean, Ayari Fuentes-Hernandez

    Affiliation: Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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  • Ayari Fuentes-Hernandez equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: R. Craig MacLean, Ayari Fuentes-Hernandez

    Affiliations: Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom, Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Duncan Greig,

    Affiliations: Research Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany

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  • Laurence D. Hurst mail,

    L.D.Hurst@bath.ac.uk (LDH); i.gudelj@imperial.ac.uk (IG)

    Affiliation: Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom

    These authors also contributed equally to this work.

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  • Ivana Gudelj mail

    L.D.Hurst@bath.ac.uk (LDH); i.gudelj@imperial.ac.uk (IG)

    Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

    These authors also contributed equally to this work.

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  • Published: September 14, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000486

Reader Comments (3)

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snowdrift game?

Posted by MarcoA on 05 Oct 2010 at 05:23 GMT

I don't understand, your initial argument is about the 2-person snowdrift game, in which maximal group benefit occurs, as you say, when everybody cooperates.

But isn't your glucose a public good (99% percent diffuses away from the cell, all other cells can exploit it)? If your system is a public goods game (not a 2-person game) then there is nothing surprising with the fact that maximal group benefit occurs when some defectors are present in a well-mixed population.

Am I missing something?
Thanks

Marco Archetti

No competing interests declared.

RE: snowdrift game?

Laurence_Hurst replied to MarcoA on 07 Oct 2010 at 10:22 GMT

Dr Archetti asks if he is missing something. The answer must be yes, as his reasoning, as much as it can be discerned given the absence of a specified model, accords neither with our theory nor our experimental results.

He suggests that for N-player games in well-mixed conditions, it is to be expected that population fitness should be maximized when “cheats” are present. However, as our paper makes transparent, in both theory and experiment when the yeast are well-mixed (in shaken flasks) "cheats" don't aid population growth. “Cheats” aid population growth only when grown on agar and do so if unmixed.

RCM, AFH, DG, LDH, IG

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: snowdrift game?

MarcoA replied to Laurence_Hurst on 29 Nov 2010 at 17:35 GMT

Yes, in N-player games in well-mixed conditions population growth is maximized when “cheats” are present (not a very well known result, unfortunately). That's why your data are interesting!

Ok, this is not an efficient way of discussing (sorry, it was just an impromptu comment), I'll write you an email.

M.A.

No competing interests declared.