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Zoology (Jena). 2011 Sep;114(4):185-90. doi: 10.1016/j.zool.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Metaorganisms as the new frontier.

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1
Zoological Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, D-24118 Kiel, Germany. tbosch@zoologie.uni-kiel.de

Abstract

Because it appears that almost all organisms are part of an interdependent metaorganism, an understanding of the underlying host-microbe species associations, and of evolution and molecular underpinnings, has become the new frontier in zoology. The availability of novel high-throughput sequencing methods, together with the conceptual understanding that advances mostly originate at the intersection of traditional disciplinary boundaries, enable biologists to dissect the mechanisms that control the interdependent associations of species. In this review article, we outline some of the issues in inter-species interactions, present two case studies illuminating the necessity of interfacial research when addressing complex and fundamental zoological problems, and show that an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to understand co-evolved multi-species relationships will connect genomes, phenotypes, ecosystems and the evolutionary forces that have shaped them. We hope that this article inspires other collaborations of a similar nature on the diverse landscape commonly referred to as "zoology".

PMID:
21737250
PMCID:
PMC3992624
DOI:
10.1016/j.zool.2011.04.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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