Evolving as a holobiont

Some of the most exciting recent advances in biology have been in our understanding of how the microbiome—the community of bacteria, fungi, and other single-celled microorganisms—influences host functions and behaviors. From the way we eat, to the way we think, to our susceptibility to diseases (just to name a few), the microbiome has a huge impact on human physiology. But microbiomes aren’t just for humans, or even just for mammals. The composition and function of microbiomes are critical for most animals and plants, so much so that many scientists believe that hosts and their microbiomes should be considered as single ecological unit—the holobiont. Given their ubiquity and importance, researchers are now investigating how this symbiotic relationship between hosts and microbes has evolved over time.

 

Richardson LA (2017) Evolving as a holobiont. PLoS Biol 15(2): e2002168. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002168

Source: journals.plos.org