Category Archives: Symbiosis

Eco-evolutionary feedbacks drive species interactions

This. Is. Awesome. Link Abstract: In the biosphere, many species live in close proximity and can thus interact in many different ways. Such interactions are dynamic and fall along a continuum between antagonism and cooperation. Because interspecies interactions are the … Continue reading

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The gut microbiota of insects

link Abstract Insect guts present distinctive environments for microbial colonization, and bacteria in the gut potentially provide many beneficial services to their hosts. Insects display a wide range in degree of dependence on gut bacteria for basic functions. Most insect … Continue reading

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Comparison of the Compositions of the Stool Microbiotas of Infants Fed Goat Milk Formula, Cow Milk-Based Formula, or Breast Milk

Abstract: The aim of the study was to compare the compositions of the fecal microbiotas of infants fed goat milk formula to those of infants fed cow milk formula or breast milk as the gold standard. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene … Continue reading

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The root microbiota—a fingerprint in the soil?

Kristin, Aleklett, and Hart Miranda. “The root microbiota—a fingerprint in the soil?.” Plant and Soil (2013): 1-16. PDF here Background The root system of a plant is known to host a wide diversity of microbes that can be essential or … Continue reading

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Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour

This review appears in Nature Reviews Neuroscience and explores the experimental evidence for a “microbiota–gut–brain axis” that may modulate brain function and behavior. Though personally I’m not convinced there’s anything more in the data presented here than associations (rather than … Continue reading

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Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota

Lozupone et al. Nature 2012 Trillions of microbes inhabit the human intestine, forming a complex ecological community that influences normal physiology and susceptibility to disease through its collective metabolic activities and host interactions. Understanding the factors that underlie changes in … Continue reading

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Gut microbiota instead of host genotype drive the specificity in the interaction of a natural host-parasite system


  • 16S rRNA;
  • bacterial communities;
  • coevolution;
  • microbiome;
  • parasitology;
  • pathogen;
  • resistance;
  • TRFLP;
  • Trypanosomatidae


Specific interactions between parasite genotypes and host genotypes (Gp × Gh) are commonly found in invertebrate systems, but are largely lacking a mechanistic explanation. The genotype of invertebrate hosts can be complemented by the genomes of microorganisms living on or within the host (‘microbiota’). We investigated whether the bacterial gut microbiota of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) can account for the specificity of interactions between individuals from different colonies (previously taken as host genotype proxy) and genotypes of the parasite Crithidia bombi. For this, we transplanted the microbiota between individuals of six colonies. Both the general infection load and the specific success of different C. bombi genotypes were mostly driven by the microbiota, rather than by worker genotype. Variation in gut microbiota can therefore be responsible for specific immune phenotypes and the evolution of gut parasites may be driven by interactions with ‘microbiota types’ as well as with host genotypes.

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