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Symbiotic organs: the nexus of host-microbe evolution.

  • Fronk, David C
  • Sachs, Joel L
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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Diverse plants and animals have evolved specialized structures to filter and house beneficial microbes. These symbiotic organs form crucial points of exchange between host and symbiont, are often shaped by both partners, and exhibit features that facilitate a suite of microbial services. While symbiotic organs exhibit varied function, morphology, and developmental plasticity, they share core features linked to the evolutionary maintenance of beneficial symbiosis. Moreover, these organs can have a significant role in altering the demographic forces that shape microbial genomes, driving population bottlenecks and horizontal gene transfer (HGT). To advance our understanding of these 'joint phenotypes' across varied systems, future research must consider the emergent forces that can shape symbiotic organs, including fitness feedbacks and conflicts between interacting genomes.

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