And here we thought nature was “red in tooth and claw”:
Abstract: Interspecies interactions shape the structure and function of microbial communities. In particular, positive, growth-promoting interactions can substantially affect the diversity and productivity of natural and engineered communities. However, the prevalence of positive interactions and the conditions in which they occur are not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we used kChip, an ultrahigh-throughput coculture platform, to measure 180,408 interactions among 20 soil bacteria across 40 carbon environments. We find that positive interactions, often described to be rare, occur commonly and primarily as parasitisms between strains that differ in their carbon consumption profiles. Notably, nongrowing strains are almost always promoted by strongly growing strains (85%), suggesting a simple positive interaction–mediated approach for cultivation, microbiome engineering, and microbial consortium design.Positive interactions are common among culturable bacteria Jared Kehe Https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1028-5981anthony Ortizanthony Kulesajeff Gore Https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4583-8555paul C. Blainey Https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4889-8783 and Jonathan Friedman Https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8476-8030 Authors Info & Affiliations Science Advances • 5 Nov 2021 • Vol 7, Issue 45 • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi7159
A reader points out that horizontal gene transfer, foound everywhere among prokaryotes like bacteria, is an important source of adaptation. The bacteria can sample any number of genes and the more the merrier.
This sure isn’t the Darwinism we were taught in school. Like, why kill competitors when (if you are a bacterium) you can acquire their genes?
The paper is open access.