January 15, 2020
12:00 The Hershey Hall Grand Salon, Room 158, Hershey Hall
" A symbiont's guide to the germline "
Symbiotic relationships between microbes and eukaryotes are ubiquitous across habitats and taxa on Earth. In all of these associations, hosts and symbionts must find one another every generation to perpetuate the interaction over evolutionary time. In many cases, symbionts have evolved ways of integrating with host development to achieve transmission through the host germline, making these associations directly heritable. I present the results of my research to understand how bacterial symbionts are able to integrate with animal host development and what impact this has on the evolution of their genomes. Fascinatingly, I find that many associations with germline transmission also exhibit detectable rates of transmission between unrelated hosts. As this requires mechanisms to deal with free-living microbes and establish novel infections, these results have dramatic implications for how populations of host-associated microbes evolve and persist.
Host: Shane Campbell-Staton