Animals in a bacterial world, a new imperative for life sciences

In the last two decades, the widespread application of genetic and genomic approaches has revealed a bacterial world astonishing in its ubiquity and diversity. It examines how a growing knowledge of the vast range of animal–bacterial interactions, whether in shared ecosystems or intimate symbiosis, is fundamentally altering our understanding of animal biology. It highlights the recent technological and intellectual advances that have changed our thinking about five questions: how have bacteria facilitated the origin and evolution of animals; how do animals and bacteria affect each other’s genomes; how does normal animal development depend on bacterial partners; how is homeostasis maintained between animals and their symbionts; and how can ecological approaches deepen our understanding of the multiple levels of animal–bacterial interaction and to include investigations of the relationships between and among bacteria and their animal partners as we are going to seek a better understanding of the natural world.

  • Microbiome and host pathology
  • Reciprocal effects animal-bacterial genomics
  • Bacterial roles animal origins
  • Nested ecosystems

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