Experimental Evolution of Interference Competition

Florien A. Gorter, Carolina Tabares-Mafla, Rees Kassen, Sijmen E. Schoustra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The importance of interference competition, where individuals compete through antagonistic traits such as the production of toxins, has long been recognized by ecologists, yet understanding how these types of interactions evolve remains limited. Toxin production is thought to be beneficial when competing with a competitor. Here, we explore if antagonism can evolve by long-term selection of the toxin (pyocin) producing strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 in the presence (or absence) of one of three clinical isolates of the same species (Recipient) over ten serial transfers. We find that inhibition decreases in the absence of a recipient. In the presence of a recipient, antagonism evolved to be different depending on the recipient used. Our study shows that the evolution of interference competition by toxins can decrease or increase, experimentally demonstrating the importance of this type of interaction for the evolution of species interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number613450
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021


  • bacteriocins
  • bacteriophage
  • clinical isolates
  • interference competition
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • pyocins
  • repeated serial transfer

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