It's the Song, Not the Singer--Speculation on Holobiont Evolution

(Randy) #1

I am not sure if the Quanta magazine is reputable or not, but I had to read this article after noting the allusion to microbes and hyenas marking their territory! Also, one of the researchers teaches at my med school alma mater, Wayne State.

The concept of holobiont and environmental interactional memes, noting that many microbes spend their time outside the host and thus it’s the interaction niche itself (song, not the singer) fascinates me. A loose parallel stems from Niger, where I grew up. Reforestation efforts have increased the scant forest cover in this arid country more than many other nations, but I think that they have been less effective when using foreign tree species than native ones. Interestingly, similarly, re introduction of native animals in East Africa also improved the bacterial and grass vigor better than simply using domestic animals.

Critiques are welcome.

(George Brooks) #2


When you read the headline of the article itself … it seems rather obvious:

Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

“How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologists debate the need to revise theories.”

Life affects life. I don’t know any biologist who would be shocked to imagine that some parasites exist to keep their hosts ALIVE.

The theory that mitochondria were a primitive form of life that was engulfed (and preserved!) by a lucky form of cellular life is a clear example that Evolutionists have been looking at this question for decades.

Theories of Evolution don’t need to be revised. They just need to be good enough to recognize how systems of life reinforce each other.

(George Brooks) #3

This is one of my all time favorite threads!:

Protists that fed on algae cells swallowed some that would not be digested and did not die… and they were lucky they did! Those algae cells helped the Protists survive starvation - - and provide an exquisite parallel to the acquisition of proto-mitochondria by one celled life ages ago…

Link to YouTube video:

(Randy) #4

Looks like a good video. I will try to watch it soon. Thanks. I found the article informative in that it incorporated at least 2 (a mixed 3rd) counter argument against a simple interpretation of holobiont status.

(system) #5

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