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Rapid evolutionary dynamics and disease threats to biodiversity

Summary: Rapid evolutionary dynamics and
disease threats to biodiversity
Sonia Altizer1
, Drew Harvell2
and Elizabeth Friedle1
Department of Environmental Studies and Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution Program, Emory University, Atlanta,
GA 30322, USA
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Existing and emerging pathogens pose unusual chal-
lenges for conservation because of their potential to
drive rapid changes in the numerical abundance and
genetic composition of wild host populations. An
increasing number of studies indicate that host genetic
diversity plays an important role in buffering popu-
lations against widespread epidemics, and that para-
sites represent powerful selective agents in natural
populations. The observation that infectious diseases
might be both mitigated by and rapidly change the gen-


Source: Altizer, Sonia M.- Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology