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BMC Evol Biol. 2008 Mar 7;8:80. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-8-80.

Parasite-mediated disruptive selection in a natural Daphnia population.

Author information

1
W. K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, MI 49060, USA. meghan.duffy@biology.gatech.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A mismatch has emerged between models and data of host-parasite evolution. Theory readily predicts that parasites can promote host diversity through mechanisms such as disruptive selection. Yet, despite these predictions, empirical evidence for parasite-mediated increases in host diversity remains surprisingly scant.

RESULTS:

Here, we document parasite-mediated disruptive selection on a natural Daphnia population during a parasite epidemic. The mean susceptibility of clones collected from the population before and after the epidemic did not differ, but clonal variance and broad-sense heritability of post-epidemic clones were significantly greater, indicating disruptive selection and rapid evolution. A maximum likelihood method that we developed for detecting selection on natural populations also suggests disruptive selection during the epidemic: the distribution of susceptibilities in the population shifted from unimodal prior to the epidemic to bimodal after the epidemic. Interestingly, this same bimodal distribution was retained after a generation of sexual reproduction.

CONCLUSION:

These results provide rare empirical support for parasite-driven increases in host genetic diversity, and suggest that this increase can occur rapidly.

PMID:
18328099
PMCID:
PMC2276202
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2148-8-80
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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