04 February 2014

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Stalking the wild holobiont

figure made from dishes containing images of microbes Photo by Pickersgill Reef.
Over at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!, Sarah Hird introduces us to the concept of the holobiont and its hologenome:

Most evolutionary biologists probably consider the individual as the fundamental unit of natural selection. We think about the genes of one mother or one father being passed on to one descendant. But is this view too constrained? The “hologenome” is all the genomes that belong to the “holobiont” – an organism and all its microbes.

Would natural selection be better understood as acting on organisms together with all the microbes they host? Go read the whole thing and see what you think.◼

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