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Trends Microbiol. 2016 Jul;24(7):568-580. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2016.03.006. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Oysters and Vibrios as a Model for Disease Dynamics in Wild Animals.

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Ifremer, Unité Physiologie Fonctionnelle des Organismes Marins, ZI de la Pointe du Diable, CS 10070, F-29280 Plouzané, France; Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Paris 06, CNRS, UMR 8227, Integrative Biology of Marine Models, Station Biologique de Roscoff, CS 90074, F-29688, Roscoff cedex, France. Electronic address:
AWI - Alfred Wegener Institut - Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Coastal Ecology, Waddensea Station Sylt, Hafenstrasse 43, 25992 List, Germany.
Parsons Lab for Environmental Science and Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Disease dynamics in the wild are influenced by a number of ecological and evolutionary factors not addressed by traditional laboratory-based characterization of pathogens. Here we propose the oyster, Crassostrea gigas, as a model for studying the interaction of the environment, bacterial pathogens, and the host in disease dynamics. We show that an important first step is to ask whether the functional unit of pathogenesis is a bacterial clone, a population, or a consortium in order to assess triggers of disease outbreaks and devise appropriate monitoring tools. Moreover, the development of specific-pathogen-free (SPF) oysters has enabled assessment of the infection process under natural conditions. Finally, recent results show the importance of microbial interactions and host genetics in determining oyster health and disease.


ecology; evolution; genomic; polymicrobial disease; specific-pathogen-free (SPF)

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