Kümmerli, R. & Frank, S. A. 2023. Evolutionary explanations for heterogenous behavior in clonal bacterial populations. Trends in Microbiology 7:665-667.
Cellular heterogeneity in clonal bacterial populations is widespread. Division of labor and bet hedging are common adaptive explanations for the function of such heterogeneity. We suggest group-level phenotypes via shareable molecules and variation in cellular vigor as two alternative evolutionary explanations for bacterial cellular heterogeneity.