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Infection genetics: gene-for-gene versus matching-alleles models and all points in between

Summary: Infection genetics: gene-for-gene versus matching-
alleles models and all points in between
Aneil Agrawal* and Curtis M. Lively
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-3700, USA
Here we address the controversy between plant pathologists and invertebrate zoologists as to
the genetic basis of infection. We show that the alternative models proposed by these groups
represent two ends of a continuum. Specifically, the gene-for-gene (GFG) model of plant
pathologists represents one end of a continuum, where a very broad host range is expected to
occur in one pathogen genotype. The matching alleles (MA) model, favoured by invertebrate
zoologists, represents the opposite end of the same continuum, where an exact genetic match is
required for infection. Since it is known that matching-alleles models give highly dynamical
behaviour and selection for recombination if parasites exert strongly negative effects on host
fitness, we were especially interested in determining the nature of any such behaviour in the
interior regions of the MA­GFG continuum. We found that the highly dynamical aspects of
matching-alleles models were observed across most of the continuum, and that recombination
would increase geometric mean fitness over about half of the continuum.
Keywords: evolution of sex, gene-for-gene model, host­parasite co-evolution, matching-alleles
model, recombination, Red Queen hypothesis.


Source: Agrawal, Aneil F. - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology