The Black Queen Hypothesis

"Black Queen" image via

A new evolutionary theory proposes that microorganisms may be selected to lose costly functions if another organism can perform them instead.

BEACON postdoc Jeffrey Morris, along with professor Richard Lenski and University of Tennessee collaborator Erik Zenser, proposes this explanation for why certain microbes may depend upon each other in a new paper in the journal mBio. The name “Black Queen” refers to the game Hearts, in which the Queen of Spades is a card generally avoided.

Check out the coverage in the New Scientist and!

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