Museum Blog

I Got SciTerm Luv 4 Holobiont

Posted 12/6/2011 12:12 AM by Nicole Garneau | Comments

I'm a microbiologist at heart, and a card-carrying member of the American Society for Microbiology. Both excellent reasons to explain why I get the publication MICROBE.

microbe

But I've been back logged on my science reading the last few months and just got to the September issue that was buried under stacks budgets and grant ideas. I'm so glad I didn't just file it away with its buddies, because the very last page of each issue is "Small Things Considered" in which the newly coined holobiont was used.

HOLOBIONT:

The whole kit and caboodle- including the whole host (think YOU) and every symbiotic organism living with it (bacteria, viruses, fungi etc.)

The cool thing is we often think about evolution based on how well our gene products allow us to survive in a certain environment, standard evaluation dogma. But more recently scientists are realizing its so much bigger than just genetics. Epigenetics has come along and shaken up how we think about gene expression, and now the concept of holobionts to shake up how we think about evolution. Basically, natural selection occurs not just to the host but the host with all its little buddy symbionts, such that adaptation and survival are a team effort.

 

As the saying goes, there's no I in Team, and maybe not in Natural Select(i)on.

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