Towards A Developmental Biology Of Holobionts

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

Perspectives On Evolutionary And Developmental Biology


We do not develop as monogenomic organisms, instructed solely from the DNA and cytoplasm of the zygote. Rather, we are holobionts, symbiotic consortia containing numerous microbial genomes, whose signals are critically important for our normal development. Microbes play crucial roles in forming and maturing animal guts, immune systems, nervous systems, and reproductive organs. In some species, they regulate such developmental phenomena as the proper orientation of the anterior-posterior axis and metamorphosis. One of the biggest challenges to developmental biology, then, is studying the developmental biology of holobionts, where co-development is the rule, and where the body is seen as a collection of interdependent ecosystems.

Published By

Padova University Press


G. Fusco