Evolving Ecosystems: Inheritance and Selection in the Light of the Microbiome

Archives of Medical Research
Santiago Sandoval-MottaAlejandro Frank

Abstract

The importance of microorganisms in human biology is undeniable. The amount of research that supports that microbes have a fundamental role in animal and plant physiology is substantial and increasing every year. Even though we are only beginning to comprehend the broadness and complexity of microbial communities, evolutionary theories need to be recast in the light of such discoveries to fully understand and incorporate the role of microbes in our evolution. Fundamental evolutionary concepts such as diversity, heredity, selection, speciation, etc., which constitute the modern synthesis, are now being challenged, or at least expanded, by the emerging notion of the holobiont, which defines the genetic and metabolic networks of the host and its microbes as a single evolutionary unit. Several concepts originally developed to study ecosystems, can be used to understand the physiology and evolution of such complex systems that constitute "individuals." In this review, we discuss these ecological concepts and also provide examples that range from squids, insects and koalas to other mammals and humans, suggesting that microorganisms have a fundamental role not only in physiology but also in evolution. Current evolutionary theories nee...Continue Reading

Citations

Aug 19, 2020·Briefings in Bioinformatics·Denis Awany, Emile R Chimusa
Feb 7, 2019·Frontiers in Genetics·Denis AwanyEmile R Chimusa
Jan 9, 2019·Frontiers in Physiology·Saúl HuitzilMaximino Aldana
May 15, 2020·Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society·Javier Suárez, Adrian Stencel

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