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Effects of host heterogeneity on pathogen diversity and evolution

From Complex Time
Category
General Reference
author-supplied keywords
keywords
authors
title
rabn
type
journal
year
2015
source
Ecology Letters
pages
1252-1261
volume
18
issue
11
publisher
Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Abstract

Phenotypic variation is common in most pathogens, yet the mechanisms that maintain this diver- sity are still poorly understood. We asked whether continuous host variation in susceptibility helps maintain phenotypic variation, using experiments conducted with a baculovirus that infects gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) larvae. We found that an empirically observed tradeoff between mean transmission rate and variation in transmission, which results from host heterogeneity, promotes long-term coexistence of two pathogen types in simulations of a population model. This tradeoff introduces an alternative strategy for the pathogen: a low-transmission, low-variability type can coexist with the high-transmission type favoured by classical non-heterogeneity models. In addi- tion, this tradeoff can help explain the extensive phenotypic variation we observed in field-col- lected pathogen isolates, in traits affecting virus fitness including transmission and environmental persistence. Similar heterogeneity tradeoffs might be a general mechanism promoting phenotypic variation in any pathogen for which hosts vary continuously in susceptibility.

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Identifiers

  • doi: 10.1111/ele.12506 (Google search)
  • issn: 14610248
  • sgr: 84943662364
  • isbn: 1461-0248
  • pmid: 26365355
  • scopus: 2-s2.0-84943662364
  • pui: 606016975

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