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C R Biol. 2009 Feb-Mar;332(2-3):311-20. doi: 10.1016/j.crvi.2008.09.004. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Virulence strategies in parasitoid Hymenoptera as an example of adaptive diversity.

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UMR "Interactions biotiques et santé végétale", Université Nice Sophia Antipolis-CNRS (UMR 6243)-INRA (UMR 1301), 400 Route des Chappes, 06903 Sophia-Antipolis, France.


Parasitoids are mostly insects that develop at the expense of other arthropods, which will die as a result of the interaction. Their reproductive success thus totally depends on their ability to successfully infest their host whose reproductive success relies on its own ability to avoid or overcome parasitism. Such intense selective pressures have resulted in extremely diverse adaptations in parasitoid strategies that ensure parasitism success. For instance, wasp-specific viruses (polydnaviruses) are injected into the host by parasitoid females to modulate its physiology and immunity. This article synthesizes available physiological and molecular data on parasitoid virulence strategies and discusses the evolutionary processes at work.

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