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Evidence of trade-offs shaping virulence evolution in an emerging wildlife pathogen

Author(s): Williams, Paul D.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Dhondt, Keila V.; Hawley, Dana M.; Dhondt, André A.

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Abstract: In the mid-1990's, the common poultry pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) made a successful species jump to the eastern North American house finch Haemorhous mexicanus (HM). Subsequent strain diversification allows us to directly quantify, in an experimental setting, the transmission dynamics of three sequentially emergent geographic isolates of MG, which differ in the levels of pathogen load they induce. We find significant among-strain variation in rates of transmission as well as recovery. Pathogen strains also differ in their induction of host morbidity, measured as the severity of eye lesions due to infection. Relationships between pathogen traits are also investigated, with transmission and recovery rates being significantly negatively correlated, while transmission and virulence, measured as average eye lesion score over the course of infection, are positively correlated. By quantifying these disease-relevant parameters and their relationships, we provide the first analysis of the tradeoffs that shape the evolution of this important emerging pathogen.
Publication Date: Jun-2014
Electronic Publication Date: 18-Apr-2014
Citation: Williams, PD, Dobson, AP, Dhondt, KV, Hawley, DM, Dhondt, AA. (2014). Evidence of trade-offs shaping virulence evolution in an emerging wildlife pathogen. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 27 (6), 1271 - 1278. doi:10.1111/jeb.12379
DOI: doi:10.1111/jeb.12379
ISSN: 1010-061X
Pages: 1271 - 1278
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Version: Author's manuscript

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