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Bacteria “convince” their squid host to change gene expression to make life easier for the bacteria


This is a remarkable story. See the (short) vid below:

Bacteria [Vibrio fischeri] living symbiotically within the Hawaiian bobtail squid can direct the host squid to change its normal gene-expression program to make a more inviting home, according to a new study published in PLoS Biology by researchers at the University of Hawai’i (UH) at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST)…

Through RNA-sequencing, the scientists found in squid’s blood sRNA sequences that were produced by bacteria inhabiting the light-organ and found a high concentration of a specific sRNA within the host cells lining the crypts where the bacteria live.

“The presence of this particular sRNA results in a ‘calming’ the immune reaction of the squid, which will increase the opportunity for the bacteria to persistently colonize the host tissue, and deliver their beneficial effects,” said Dr. Moriano-Gutierrez. “This work reveals the potential for a bacterial symbiont’s sRNAs not only to control its own activities but also to trigger critical responses that promote a peaceful partnership with its host.”

U Hawaii Manoa, “Bacteria convince their squid host to create a less hostile work environment” at ScienceDaily

Paper. (open access)

Clever little things, aren’t they? Change the host’s genome? So much intelligence in nature and it is supposedly all just an accident. Sure.

“Perfect life partners”

See also: Do bacteria warn others while dying from antibiotics? Scientists are learning more about the complex ways bacteria overcome efforts to control them

In In what ways are bacteria intelligent? As antibiotic resistance grows, researchers are discovering that these microbes are not just single, simple cells. We must understand the surprisingly complex ways bacteria “think” in order to keep them in check.


Why do many scientists see cells as intelligent? Bacteria appear to show intelligent behavior. But what about individual cells in our bodies?

This reminds me of Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig's paper on Plant Galls and Evolution where plants provide a home, nutrition and protection, with no benefit for themselves, for the parasites that may eventually kill them. It's not even that evolutionists cannot explain the mechanisms involved. They cannot even provide a theoretical explanation as to why this occurs. It's one of those rare things where it's difficult to even make up a fictional account of the historical development. Silver Asiatic
Sort of like a proper employment contract. Squid hires bacteria to make light. Bacterial union extracts concessions from squid to improve working conditions. Too bad human employees no longer have unions. We're dumber than bacteria. polistra
Not change the genome, just change the expression of some genes. aarceng

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