Using snowflake yeast, we examine how
simple geometric constraints can promote
the emergence of higher-level
evolvability and individuality.
Origin of multicellular
Welcome to the Ratcliff lab at Georgia Tech
Our group uses experimental evolution to examine the evolution of biological complexity,
with a focus on multicellularity. Using baker’s yeast yeast and the algae Chlamydomonas,
we are examining how unicellular organisms can evolve to form multicellular clusters, and
how these clusters evolve to become more sophisticated. For more, check out Emily
Singer’s great article at Quanta magazine. Also, take a look at our Research page.
Through this research, we also work on:
The evolution of cooperation.
Bet hedging / evolution in fluctuating environments.
The evolution of aging.
Life cycle evolution.
The evolution of multicellular development.
Experimental evolution in high schools
The evolution of biological complexity remains one of the most challenging topics in biology
to teach effectively, and is one of the most contentious scientific topics among the general
public. Many people will never take a biology class past high school, and historically, few
high school courses have covered the major evolutionary transitions in detail. To address
this gap, we have developed a pair of labs based on our research evolving multicellularity.
Read more (and order your free kit!) at www.snowflakeyeastlab.com.
You can also access our publications describing these labs here:
1. Evolve your own snowflake yeast.
2. Use predators to examine ecologically-realistic selection leading to multicellularity.
Evolution of multicellularity, bet hedging and
Job Opening: Our collaborator Hanna Kokko at the University of Zurich is hiring a
postdoc to work on life history evolution and multicellularity (in collaboration with
our group). Apply here!