Magic embryology: constantly influenced by the biome (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 27, 2020, 19:11 (713 days ago) @ David Turell

The microbiome is always a part of embryological development:

"All multicellular living beings are colonized by an unimaginably large number of microorganisms and have developed together with them from the very beginning of multicellular life. The natural microbiome, i.e. the totality of these bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in and on a body, is of fundamental importance for the entire organism: it supports, for example, the absorption of nutrients or fends off pathogens. The individual development of a living being, on the other hand, was long regarded as a purely genetically determined process that is independent of external factors. For some time now, however, it has become clear that developmental processes do not take place autonomously either. Most living beings have developed strategies to recognize changes in their environment and to adapt their individual growth and thus also the resulting body shape to the prevailing conditions. But how this so-called phenotypic plasticity is controlled and how environmental factors including microbial influences are recognized and integrated into genetic development programs has only recently become the subject of research.


"The researchers were able to identify two Hydra specific genes and demonstrate their involvement in a signaling pathway central to development, which together control the response of the polyp to cues from its environment.


"The effects of phenotypic plasticity can thus be traced back to Hydra-specific genes that regulate the adaptation to external influences in this organism. The study thus provides an example of the importance of such genetic information, also known as 'orphan genes' due to the lack of corresponding genes in other species. These rapidly evolving genes allow different organisms to adapt to new energy sources or habitats, for example. "It was already known that these genes intervene, for example, in the developmental program of a living being or are linked to the regulation of its immune system in order to implement an environmental reaction during development," explains co-author Professor Thomas Bosch from Kiel University, head of the Collaborative Research Center 1182. "Our work now reveals an exemplary mechanisms that underlie this recognition of external factors. In this way, we were able to demonstrate which internal processes ultimately lead to the adaptation of a living being's developmental program in response to its environment," Bosch says."

Comment: All of us are inhabited by friendly microbiomes that are integrated with the genetic systems in a cooperative effort. This is as finely tuned as any ecosystem and really is one. As noted before, this is why bacteria are still around, as necessary. Now we can include viruses and fungi. No mistakes here.

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