Rapid evolution of virulence leading to host extinction under host-parasite coevolutionReport as inadecuate

Rapid evolution of virulence leading to host extinction under host-parasite coevolution - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 15:112

First Online: 13 June 2015Received: 02 February 2015Accepted: 02 June 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12862-015-0407-0

Cite this article as: Rafaluk, C., Gildenhard, M., Mitschke, A. et al. BMC Evol Biol 2015 15: 112. doi:10.1186-s12862-015-0407-0


BackgroundHost-parasite coevolution is predicted to result in changes in the virulence of the parasite in order to maximise its reproductive success and transmission potential, either via direct host-to-host transfer or through the environment. The majority of coevolution experiments, however, do not allow for environmental transmission or persistence of long lived parasite stages, in spite of the fact that these may be critical for the evolutionary success of spore forming parasites under natural conditions. We carried out a coevolution experiment using the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, and its natural microsporidian parasite, Paranosema whitei. Beetles and their environment, inclusive of spores released into it, were transferred from generation to generation. We additionally took a modelling approach to further assess the importance of transmissive parasite stages on virulence evolution.

ResultsIn all parasite treatments of the experiment, coevolution resulted in extinction of the host population, with a pronounced increase in virulence being seen. Our modelling approach highlighted the presence of environmental transmissive parasite stages as being critical to the trajectory of virulence evolution in this system.

ConclusionsThe extinction of host populations was unexpected, particularly as parasite virulence is often seen to decrease in host-parasite coevolution. This, in combination with the increase in virulence and results obtained from the model, suggest that the inclusion of transmissive parasite stages is important to improving our understanding of virulence evolution.

KeywordsMicrosporidia Tribolium Paranosema Experimental evolution Transmission Curse of the pharaoh Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12862-015-0407-0 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Charlotte Rafaluk and Markus Gildenhard contributed equally to this work.

Download fulltext PDF

Author: Charlotte Rafaluk - Markus Gildenhard - Andreas Mitschke - Arndt Telschow - Hinrich Schulenburg - Gerrit Joop

Source: https://link.springer.com/

Related documents