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Microorganisms as Scaffolds of Host Individuality: An Eco-Immunity Account of the Holobiont

Chiu, Lynn and Eberl, Gérard (2016) Microorganisms as Scaffolds of Host Individuality: An Eco-Immunity Account of the Holobiont. [Preprint]

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Abstract

There is currently a great debate about whether the holobiont, i.e. a multicellular host and its residential microorganisms, constitutes a biological individual. We propose that resident microorganisms have a general and important role in the individuality of the host organism, not the holobiont. Drawing upon the Equilibrium Model of Immunity (Eberl 2016), we argue that microorganisms are scaffolds of immune capacities and processes that determine the constituency and persistence of the host organism. A scaffolding perspective accommodates the contingency and heterogeneity of resident microorganisms while accounting for their necessity and unifying contributions to host individuality. In our symbiotic view of life, holobionts may not be organisms or units of selection, but macroorganisms cannot persist nor function without their scaffolding microorganisms.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chiu, Lynnchiulynnc@gmail.com
Eberl, Gérardgerard.eberl@pasteur.fr
Keywords: holobiont, biological individuality, Equilibrium Model of Immunity, biological scaffolds, immunological individuality
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Lynn Chiu
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 15:20
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 15:20
Item ID: 12607
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
Date: November 2016
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12607

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