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Virulence-transmission trade-offs and population divergence in virulence in a naturally

Summary: Virulence-transmission trade-offs and population
divergence in virulence in a naturally
occurring butterfly parasite
Jacobus C. de Roode*
, Andrew J. Yates*, and Sonia Altizer
*Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; and Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
Edited by David Weatherall, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, and approved March 19, 2008 (received for review November 16, 2007)
Why do parasites harm their hosts? Conventional wisdom holds
that because parasites depend on their hosts for survival and
transmission, they should evolve to become benign, yet many
parasites cause harm. Theory predicts that parasites could evolve
virulence (i.e., parasite-induced reductions in host fitness) by bal-
ancing the transmission benefits of parasite replication with the
costs of host death. This idea has led researchers to predict how
human interventions--such as vaccines--may alter virulence evo-
lution, yet empirical support is critically lacking. We studied a
protozoan parasite of monarch butterflies and found that higher
levels of within-host replication resulted in both higher virulence
and greater transmission, thus lending support to the idea that
selection for parasite transmission can favor parasite genotypes


Source: Altizer, Sonia M.- Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia
Yates, Andrew - Department of Systems and Computational Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology