Termite Symbiosis in Transition

Genetic analyses show how the metabolic capacities of symbiotic bacteria in the gut of termites have changed over the course of evolution

Porotermes adamsoni - one of the more original termite species that thrive exclu
Porotermes adamsoni - one of the more original termite species that thrive exclusively on wood with the help of symbiotic microorganisms in their digestive tract. © Czech University of Life Sciences/Jan Å obotník

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany, have analysed the evolutionary development of symbiotic bacteria in the intestines of termites with regard to their metabolic capabilities. The results show that some strains of bacteria may in fact have already started on the path from being beneficial to becoming parasites.

Not only humans or ruminating cattle have myriads of microbes living in their intestines. ...

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