Seminar Details

Natural chimerism: ‘Will two walk together, except they have agreed?’ (Amos 3:3)




Prof. Baruch Rinkevich - Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research


Although immunity in multicellular organisms is efficient in dealing with alien agents, it may fail for allogeneic chimerism. Natural chimerism is widely documented in nature, distributed in at least ten phyla of protists, invertebrates and plants, vertebrates and mammals, including humans; it is an important ecological/evolutionary tool manipulating metazoans’ life history portraits. Instead of purging allogeneic nascent selfish cells, a ‘double edged sword’ chimerism emerges, displaying environmental dictated costs and benefits for the genotypes involved. Benefits include the development of synergistic complementation, the increase of genetic variability, the assurance of mate location, improved size-dependent ecological qualities (growth rates, reproduction, survivorship, competition, environmental tolerance), and more. Costs include the threat of somatic and germ cell parasitism, developmental instability, death, diseases, autoimmunity, sexual sterility and organ malformations, which develop as well in mammalian natural chimerism, including humans. The talk will focus on natural chimerism and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of this wide-spreading but less studied phenomenon.

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