Animal development is an inherently complex process that is regulated by highly conserved genomic networks, and the resulting phenotype may remain plastic in response to environmental signals. Despite development having been studied in a more natural setting for the past few decades, this framework often precludes the role of microbial prokaryotes in these processes. Here, we address how microbial symbioses impact animal development from the onset of gametogenesis through adulthood. We then provide a first assessment of which developmental processes may or may not be influenced by microbial symbioses and, in doing so, provide a holistic view of the budding discipline of developmental symbiosis.

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