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Bacteria Hold the Clues to Trade-Offs in Financial Investments and Evolution

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Scientists have found that bacteria have the potential to teach valuable investment lessons.

The research, published in the journal Ecology Letters, takes advantage of the fact that bacteria, like humans, have limited resources and are constantly faced with investment decisions.

Bacteria though are successful with their investments and have colonised every inch of the surface of our planet.

The researchers, from the Universities of Exeter and Sydney, used mathematical models and lab-based synthetic biology, to predict bacterial investment crashes and boom-bust cycles. The study reveals how the diversity of life we see around us is maintained and demonstrates that the outcomes of investment decisions can be precisely defined. It explains why a single-celled, fat cat investor didn't win out long ago.

The scientists developed the mathematical model to predict the best way for bacteria to invest resources in a trade-off between growth and investment in stress resistance. While humans invest in cash, bacteria trade in costly proteins to reduce their stress levels or to increase consumption and so grow faster. Evolution is the decision making process with different choices encoded in the genes. Each bacterium makes an investment decision; the bad investors fall by the wayside, the good ones survive.
 
 

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