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    Social animals are among the most successful organisms on the planet and derive many benefits from living in groups, including facilitating the evolution of agriculture. However, living in groups increases the risk of disease transmission in social animals themselves and the cultivated crops upon which they obligately depend. Social insects offer an interesting model to compare to human societies, in terms of how insects manage disease within their societies and with their agricultural symbionts. As living in large groups can help the spread of beneficial microbes as well as pathogens, we examine the role of defensive microbial symbionts in protecting the host from pathogens. We further explore how beneficial microbes may influence other pathogen defenses including behavioral and immune responses, and how we can use insect systems as models to inform on issues relating to human health and agriculture.

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    Bratburd, Jennifer R.; Arango, Rachel A.; Horn, Heidi A. 2020. Defensive symbioses in social insects can inform human health and agriculture. Frontiers in Microbiology. Vol. 11. 8 p.


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    Defensive symbiosis, social insects and humans, gut microbiome, colonization resistance, model systems, social immunity, insect agriculture

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