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Deciphering Evolutionary Mechanisms Between Mutualistic and Pathogenic Symbioses
Vie Milieu Paris (2008)
  • Margaret Riley, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • M. K. Nishiguchi, New Mexico State University
  • A. M. Hirsch, University of California - Los Angeles
  • R. Devinney, University of Calgary
  • G. Vedantam
  • L. M. Mansky, University of Minnesota
The continuum between mutualistic and pathogenic symbioses has been an underlying theme for understanding the evolution of infection and disease in a number of eukaryotic-microbe associations. The ability to monitor and then predict the spread of infectious diseases may depend upon our knowledge and capabilities of anticipating the behavior of virulent pathogens by studying related, benign symbioses. For instance, the ability of a symbiotic species to infect, colonize, and proliferate efficiently in a susceptible host will depend on a number of factors that influence both partners during the infection. Levels of virulence are not only affected by the genetic and phenotypic composite of the symbiont, but also the life history, mode(s) of transmission, and environmental factors that influence colonization, such as antibiotic treatment. Population dynamics of both host and symbiont, including densities, migration, as well as competition between symbionts will also affect infection rates of the pathogen as well as change the evolutionary dynamics between host and symbiont. It is therefore important to be able to compare the evolution of virulence between a wide range of mutualistic and pathogenic systems in order to determine when and where new infections might occur, and what conditions will render the pathogen ineffective. This perspective focuses on several symbiotic models that compare mutualistic associations to pathogenic forms and the questions posed regarding their evolution and radiation. A common theme among these systems is the prevailing concept of how heritable mutations can eventually lead to novel phenotypes and eventually new species.
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
This mini-review was the outcome of a symposium held at the Society for the Study of Evolution in Chico, CA in June 2003 entitled “Understanding the evolutionary patterns and processes of virulence”. SSE partially supported the speakers for travel and registration to attend the symposium. NIH Public Access Author Manuscript Vie Milieu Paris. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 August 3. Published in final edited form as: Vie Milieu Paris. 2008 ; 58(2): 87–106. NIH-PA
Citation Information
Margaret Riley, M. K. Nishiguchi, A. M. Hirsch, R. Devinney, et al.. "Deciphering Evolutionary Mechanisms Between Mutualistic and Pathogenic Symbioses" Vie Milieu Paris Vol. 58 Iss. 2 (2008)
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