The study of the microbiome explores the evolutionary dependencies of microbes

The scientific study of the microbiome has overlooked a key component to unlocking the wealth of knowledge about microbial biodiversity. And you have to go deeper into “evolutionary dependencies” of microbes open the way, says a researcher from the University of California.

Sometimes called evolved addiction, the research theorizes that microbes may not always help the host, but may be the cause of poor bodily function because the host’s microbes have developed an addictive trait.

Along these lines, evolutionary ecologist Tobin Hammer presented this theory in a peer-reviewed article in Trends in Microbiology.

According to Hammer, evolutionary dependence can occur in any host system, from the human gut to plant roots, even microbes that contain other microbes.

Host organisms often exhibit deficiencies when their own microbiome. The phenomenon, known for decades, supports the generally accepted view that microbes are fundamentally important to host biology.

Beneficial functions of microbes

What Hammer challenges in his research is the current perception in the field that a poorly functioning host without its microbiome is explained by the need for microbes to perform unique and beneficial functions.

However, the researcher points out that evolutionary dependence must be taken into account when interpreting the experiments. elimination of microbes. This is because it could have unique implications for the evolution and stability of the host-microbe interaction.

“By largely ignoring evolutionary dependence, microbiome field has lost a plausible and likely common evolutionary explanation for microbe-dependent host traits,” the researcher points out.

The host organism is a complex system, internally connected and without microbes integrated into it. Like gears in a machine, it will cause components to fail.

Reliance on host-microbe symbiosis can evolve without improving functionality. The concept of evolutionary dependence has been discussed in the context of herbivores, plants, and parasites, but has not yet been considered in the context of the microbiome.

Evolutionary dependence must be taken into account when interpreting microbial clearance experiments. Photo: Freepik

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Evolutionary dependence

One way hosts have become evolutionarily dependent on microbes is through microbial calibration immune systemwhere the system does not work when microbes are absent.

There are many varieties of developed addiction. In essence, hosts adapt, adapt and function in the presence of microbes and, in the process, become dependent on them.

The immune pathway explains how the mammalian immune system became dependent on gut microbes. When the host experiences inflammation during the early stages of a symbiotic relationshipit can be selected to have a less sensitive immune response.

“One process can give birth to another. “A microbe that provides an adaptive function can be expected to spread between hosts, facilitating the subsequent evolution of addiction,” the scientist concludes.

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