Microbial Detection of Kin and Kind

ISTE & WILEY have just published The Explosion of Life Forms: Living Beings and Morphology (2021)

We (Guillermo PAZ-Y-MIÑO-C and Avelina ESPINOSA) authored Chapter 6: The Many Shapes of Microbial Detection of Kin and Kind. The book was edited by our colleagues Georges Chapouthier, Emeritus Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and Marie-Christine Maurel, Professor at Sorbonne University and a researcher at the Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History.

Below are the publisher’s description and list of chapters in the book, as well as the abstract of our chapter:

“One of the essential characteristics of living beings is the explosion of variety in their forms that is intrinsically linked to the diversity of the environments they have adapted to. This book, the result of collaboration between international specialists, analyzes the multiplicity of these morphologies. It explores the origin of forms, their role in defining living things, and the relationship between form and function. It exposes the role of genes and epigenetics and examines the forms of bacteria, protists and plants. The Explosion of Life Forms also studies the memory of animals and their sensory processes, the forms of robots (built in the image of living things), and medical technologies aimed at restoring damaged living forms. Finally, this work questions a common principle of construction in the diversity of forms, as well as the idea of an abandonment of the form, a possible hidden defect of some modern philosophies.”

Chapter 1. Possible Traces and Clues of Early Life Forms by Marie-Christine MAUREL

Chapter 2. The Nature of Life by Andreas LOSCH

Chapter 3. From Form to Function by Jean-Pierre GASC

Chapter 4. On Growth and Form: Context and Purpose by Jean-Pierre GASC

Chapter 5. The Emergence of Form in the History of Epigenetics by Jonathan B. WEITZMAN

Chapter 6. The Many Shapes of Microbial Detection of Kin and Kind by Guillermo PAZ-Y-MIÑO-C and Avelina ESPINOSA – Bacteria, archaea and protists are anatomically/functionally equipped to detect close genetic relatives, as well as distantly related conspecifics. In this chapter, the authors discuss the adaptive value of a microbe’s ability to discriminate/recognize kin from non-kin. Because the theoretical framework of this field was initially developed for animals – and some plants, they first explain its foundations and later examine unicells’ examples. Emphasis is on “shapes” and genetics. The authors highlight the relevance of kin detection for altruistic cooperation (including among pathogens) or for the identification of “cheater cells” (the beneficiaries of others’ selfless acts, but that do not contribute to the collective well-being), and for the formation of temporary or permanent cell alliances, which are informative for understanding the evolutionary origins of multicellularity.

Chapter 7. Development and Evolution of Plant Forms 101 Florian JABBOUR and Guilhem MANSION

Chapter 8. Forms of Memory by Robert JAFFARD

Chapter 9. The Construction of Sensory Universes by Dalila BOVET

Chapter 10. Emotional and Social Forms of Robots by Laurence DEVILLERS

Chapter 11. When Medical Technology Mimics Living Forms by Didier FASS

Chapter 12. From Living to Thinking: Mosaic Architecture by Georges CHAPOUTHIER

Chapter 13. Converging Technologies or Paradoxes of Power by Jean-Michel BESNIER