Do Friendly Bacteria Push Evolution Of Host Species?
Nov 08, 2010
A new study of fruitflies found that the friendly bacteria that live in and on their bodies can influence mating preference, which is sustained over generations, suggesting that such "commensal" bacteria can push the evolution of their host species; the finding also adds weight to the idea that the host animal (or plant) and all of its associated microorganisms are the unit of selection in evolution.

The new study is the work of Gil Sharon, from the department of Molecular Biology at Tel-Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues, and was published online before print on 1 November in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS.