BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

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BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

Design principles of altruistic behavior Ben-Zion, Ishay


Many theoretical studies in the last 50 years have tried to explain the evolutionary maintenance of altruistic behavior in the face of exploitive cheaters. It is well known that a strong population structure is crucial for the maintenance of altruistic cooperation. However, it is unclear how this requirement is affected by the regulatory structure of the cooperative trait. The aim of this work is to examine the role of feedback regulation in maintaining cooperation in a public goods model. For this purpose, we introduced feedback regulation into adaptive dynamics framework, to look for evolutionarily stable regulatory strategies. Our results suggest an important advantage of positive feedback regulation over negative or no feedback: a positive-feedback structure promotes cooperation in weaker population structures as well, thus relieving a major limitation of explaining altruism. These results demonstrate that social traits may have different design principles than non-social traits. Moreover, since bacterial cooperative traits are often feedback-regulated through sensory mechanisms, elucidating the role of feedbacks may lead to experimentally amenable predictions.

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