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Doing their part by not doing their part

Freeloaders can be good for a community, yeast experiments suggest

5:36pm, September 14, 2010

Cheaters may not only prosper, they can make life better for everyone else too, a new study of cooperation in yeast reveals.

Common wisdom and scientific research on cooperation agree that the world is a much better place when everyone pulls their own weight, says Laurence Hurst, an evolutionary systems biologist at the University of Bath in England and a coauthor of the new study. That notion, known as the conspiracy of doves, has “largely gone untested because it was so obviously right,” he says.

But the long-held assumption that too many slackers spoil the broth for everyone turns out not to be true in all cases. In a new study pu

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