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Hosts and microbes, partners in evolution

In recent years, host-microbe interactions have acquired a central role in the theory of evolution. Animal and plants are no longer considered as autonomous entities, but rather as "holobionts": networks composed of the host and its associated microbes. Accordingly, the nuclear genome, organelles and microbiome of holobionts form a "hologenome". In a new Essay, Seth Bordenstein and Kevin Theis lay out ten principles that explain these concepts and the rules governing their establishment and maintenance. This image depicts a graphical tree of animal holobionts made out of symbiotic microbes growing on an agar plate.

Image Credit: Robert M. Brucker