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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027229. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii manipulates mate choice in rats by enhancing attractiveness of males.

Author information

1
School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Republic of Singapore.

Abstract

Females in various species typically avoid males infected with parasites, while parasite-free males advertise their status through conspicuous phenotypic traits. This process selects for heritable resistance and reduces direct exposure of the female to parasites. Coevolving parasites are likely to attempt to circumvent this obstacle. In this paper, we demonstrate a case of parasitic manipulation of host mate choice. We report that Toxoplasma gondii, a sexually transmitted infection of brown rats, enhances sexual attractiveness of infected males. Thus under some evolutionary niches, parasites can indeed manipulate host sexual signaling to their own advantage.

PMID:
22073295
PMCID:
PMC3206931
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0027229
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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