Do micro-organisms influence the social evolution of of their hosts? Lessons from the European earwig

Le 24 Novembre 2023
11h30 Hybrid - online and Salle Louis Thaler, bat 22 UM

joël meunier

Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l’Insecte (IRBI), Université de Tours / CNRS, France

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Microorganisms have long been considered a major problem for the evolution of social life. This is because frequent contact between group members typically facilitates the transmission of pathogens, high nest fidelity favors the establishment of microbial pathogens close to their social hosts, and social groups often exhibit limited genetic diversity and thus limited genetic resistance to certain pathogen strains. However, this long-held view has changed considerably in recent years. In this talk, I will show how our recent results in the European earwig suggest that microorganisms may actually favor social evolution. I will focus on the role of parental protection against pathogens as an evolutionary driver for the maintenance of family life, and the impact of the gut microbiota on the host's expression of group living.


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