The Prokaryotes: Virus, Hyperparasites and the Origin of Group Identity

  • Luis P. Villarreal

Goals of this Chapter

This chapter will focus on the microbiological prokaryotic world to consider the origins and evolution of the molecular systems that control group identity and behavior. I will examine the role that genetic parasites have played in providing systems of group identity. Group behavior is often considered as a characteristic of complex multicellular eukaryotic life forms, including humans. It has always presented a conundrum for evolutionary biology as the self-sacrifice (altruism) of genetically distant group members, in particular, is theoretically problematic. Microbes have traditionally been thought of as free-living individual (selfish) organisms that display little group identity and group behavior. Viruses of microbes are even less thought of in the context of a role in group identity. However, we have recently come to realize that our world is predominantly prokaryotic, such as seen with the most visible example of life from space: blooms of cyanobacteria...


Group Identity Group Behavior Homing Endonuclease Host Identity Lytic Phage 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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