How does unicellular life transition to multicellular life?

Biologist Professor Lutz Becks and his team observe the genetic imprint of the surprisingly rapid transition from unicellular to multicellular life

How does unicellular life transition to multicellular life? The research team of Professor Lutz Becks at the Limnological Institute of the University of Konstanz has taken a major step forward in explaining this very complex process. They were able to demonstrate – in collaboration with a colleague from the Alfred Wegner Institute (AWI) – that the unicellular green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, over only 500 generations, develops mutations that provide the first step towards multicellular life. This experimentally confirmed a theory on the origin of multicellular life, which says that the evolution of cell groups and the subsequent steps towards multicellularity can only take place when cell groups are both better at reproduction and more likely to survive than single cells. These findings have been published in the current edition of Nature Communications from 9 July 2021.