General Interview Questions - Symbionts & Pathogens

1. Describe the types of ways that two organisms can interact.
2. Are symbiotic relationships always beneficial?

3. If a symbiotic relationship is permanent, what is likely to happen to the two organisms.

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1. There is a multidimensional continuum between organisms. It varies from organisms that live in close proximity but have discernable effect on one another, to organisms that benefit or suffer as a result of their interactions.
2. Some interactions between organisms are transient, for example predator/prey or host/pathogen. Other relationships are permanent or prolonged; these are known as symbiotic relationships.
3. Symbiotic relationships can be characterized in terms of benefit and cost to each of the organisms involved. Mutualism indicates that both organisms benefit; Commensalism involves benefit to one but no serious harm to the other; Amensalism involves harm to one but no significant benefit to the other while Parasitism involves benefit to one and significant harm to the other.
4. We can think of the pathogen/host relationship as an extreme form of parasitism, cut short by the death of the host or the elimination of the pathogen by the host's immune system.
5.There are many modern examples of endosymbiosis, in which one organism lives within the confines of the cells of another.
6. The function of the immune system is to recognize foreign organisms and viruses and to eliminate them from the host's body.
7. The immune system does not always function perfectly, or it may over-react to a benign organism or situation -- this can lead to autoimmune disease.

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I teach elementary secondary college level biology

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