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In sync: Squid, glowing companions march in genetic harmony

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Most humans are blissfully unaware that we owe our healthful existence to trillions of microbes that make their home in the nooks and crannies of the human body, primarily the gut.

During evolutionary history, humans and bacteria have forged a mutually beneficial coexistence that provides the microbes' room and board in exchange for an array of biochemical services that help support everything from the digestion of food to a robust immune system.

But the intimate details of the relationship — how the cells of the host and the cells of the bacteria coexist and interact — are murky. Now, however, with the help of a diminutive Pacific Ocean squid and the bioluminescent bacteria that colonize its light-emitting, predator-fooling organ, scientists may have found a key to how animal hosts and their microbial symbionts maintain a healthy, rhythmic coexistence.
 
 

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