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Parasitol Today. 1999 Jan;15(1):28-32.

Phenotypic variability induced by parasites:.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.


The diversity of ways in which parasites can modify the host genotypic signal has been documented in recent years. For example, parasites can shift the mean value and increase the variance of phenotypic traits in host populations, or alter the phenotypic sex ratio of host populations, with several evolutionary implications. Here, Robert Poulin and Frederic Thomas review the types of host traits that are modified by parasites, then explore some of the evolutionary consequences of parasite-induced alterations in host phenotypes and suggest some avenues for future research.

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