Some choice nuggets I came across recently in a short perspective by Nadell and colleagues at Princeton:
A recent paper in BMC Biology tests central elements of [social evolution] theory by manipulating a simple bacterial experimental system. This approach is useful for assessing the principles of social evolution, but we argue that more effort must be invested in the inverse problem: using social evolution theory to understand the lives of bacteria.
The interaction between social evolution theory and microbiology holds enormous potential for enriching our knowledge of bacterial behavior, but to realize this potential we must ensure that information flows in both directions between these formerly disparate fields. At present, social evolution theory has benefited from simple experiments with bacteria, but microbiology has not equally benefited from social evolution theory.
Pretty much sums up why I find some microbial cooperation papers really cool but others not so much.
Nadell CD, Bassler BL, Levin SA (2008) Observing bacteria through the lens of social evolution. Journal of Biology 7:27. (doi:10.1186/jbiol87) http://jbiol.com/content/7/7/27
hear hear! great blog jeff, keep up the good work!