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© 2001 CISAB Steven A. Frank

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of California-Irvine

The Domestication of Competitive Symbionts into Cohesive Evolutionary Units  video
Guest Lecture for Spring 2001 Graduate Seminar:
International Hamilton Symposium

Many symbionts have a beneficial effect on their host. For example, leeches and lice cannot survive on their blood diet without bacterial symbionts, many sea organisms have complex structures to house luminescent bacteria, and insects that feed on cellulose or plant sap rely on a variety of bacterial partners. Although the symbionts provide benefits to the host, those benefits may be partly offset by the disruptive, virulent effects of competition among symbionts. Hosts often appear to control competition by limiting the reproductive opportunities of the symbionts. I argue that these host-imposed limits separate the symbionts into transmissible, germline lineages and nonreproductive, somatic lineages. This germ-soma separation integrates the host-symbiont pair into a cohesive evolutionary unit.

© 2001 CISAB
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Foundations of Social Evolution  (1998, Princeton University Press)
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