A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Parent-Young Symbiosis

  • Howard Moltz
  • Leonard A. Rosenblum


In 1879, the German botanist, Anton De Bary coined the term symbiosis in recognition of the fact that dissimilar organisms often enter into close physical associations. Although broadly defined, the concept was narrowly applied. Most often, the associations referred to were parasitic and the organisms studied were from widely different taxa. Today, the term symbiosis is used more broadly; it includes commensal and mutual as well as parasitic relationships. In other words, one symbiote may benefit without disadvantage to the other (commensal symbiosis) or indeed both may benefit (mutual symbiosis). Moreover, we now recognize that members of the same species, physically dissimilar only with respect to gender or developmental status, may also enter into relationships properly called symbiotic.


Symbiotic Relationship Deoxycholic Acid Mutual Symbiosis Suckling Infant Term Symbiosis 
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  1. De Bary, A. Die Erscheinung der Symbiose. Strassburg; Karl J. Trubner, 1879.Google Scholar
  2. Dawkins, R., & Krebs, J.R. Arms races between and within species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1979, 205, 489–511.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Moltz
    • 1
  • Leonard A. Rosenblum
    • 2
  1. 1.Committee on BiopsychologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Primate Behavior LaboratoryState University of New York, Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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