The Evolution of Living Beings Started with Prokaryotes and in Interaction with Prokaryotes

  • Télesphore Sime-NgandoEmail author
  • Jean-Claude Bertrand
  • Didier Bogusz
  • Jean-François Brugère
  • Claudine Franche
  • Marie-Laure Fardeau
  • Emilie Froussart
  • Anne Geiger
  • Maria Soledad Goñi-Urriza
  • Bernard Ollivier
  • Paul W. O’Toole


In natural world, no organism exists in absolute isolation, and thus every organism must interact with the environment and other organisms. Next-generation sequencing technologies are increasingly revealing that most of the cells in the environment resist cultivation in the laboratory and several prokaryotic divisions have no known cultivated representatives. Based on this, we hypothesize that species that live together in the same ecosystem are more or less dependent upon each other and are very large in diversity and number, outnumbering those that can be isolated in single-strain laboratory culture. In natural environments, bacteria and archaea interact with other organisms (viruses, protists, fungi, animals, plants, and human) in complex ecological networks, resulting in positive, negative, or no effect on one or another of the interacting partners. These interactions are sources of ecological forces such as competitive exclusion, niche partitioning, ecological adaptation, or horizontal gene transfers, which shape the biological evolution. In this chapter, we review the biological interactions involving prokaryotes in natural ecosystems, including plant, animal, and human microbiota, and give an overview of the insights into the evolution of living beings. We conclude that studies of biological interactions, including multipartite interactions, are sources of novel knowledge related to the biodiversity of living things, the functioning of ecosystems, the evolution of the cellular world, and the ecosystem services to the living beings.


Prokaryotes Viruses Protists Fungi Plants Animals Human Microbial mats Biotic interactions Evolution 



The authors thank the “Institut de Recherche pour le Développement,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and “France Génomique” for their support. This project has received funding from the French ANR under grant agreement ANR-12-BSV7-0019. The initial figures were improved by M. A. Galeron; thanks to our co-author B.O. for the payment of the associated costs.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Télesphore Sime-Ngando
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Claude Bertrand
    • 2
  • Didier Bogusz
    • 3
  • Jean-François Brugère
    • 4
  • Claudine Franche
    • 3
  • Marie-Laure Fardeau
    • 5
  • Emilie Froussart
    • 3
  • Anne Geiger
    • 6
  • Maria Soledad Goñi-Urriza
    • 7
  • Bernard Ollivier
    • 5
  • Paul W. O’Toole
    • 8
  1. 1.Laboratoire “Microorganismes: Génome et Environnement” (LMGE), CNRS UMR 6023Université Clermont AuvergneClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.Unité Mixte de Service, UMS 3470, OSU PythéasAix Marseille UniversitéMarseille CedexFrance
  3. 3.Équipe Rhizogenèse, UMR DIADE (IRD-UM)Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)Montpellier, Cedex 5France
  4. 4.Université Clermont AuvergneClermont-FerrandFrance
  5. 5.Aix Marseille Université, Université de Toulon, CNRS, IRD, MIO UM 110MarseilleFrance
  6. 6.INTERTRYP, Institut de Recherche pour le DéveloppementUniversity of MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  7. 7.Environmental Microbiology CNRS, Institut des Sciences Analytiques et de Physico-Chimie pour l’Environnemnet et les Matérieaux, UMR5254Univ. Pau & Pays AdourPauFrance
  8. 8.School of Microbiology and APC Microbiome InstituteUniversity College Cork, Co.CorkIreland

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