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Experimental evolution of parasitic host manipulation.


ABSTRACT: Host manipulation is a parasite-induced alteration of a host's phenotype that increases parasite fitness. However, if genetically encoded in the parasite, it should be under selection in the parasite. Such host manipulation has often been assumed to be energetically costly, which should restrict its evolution. Evidence of such costs, however, remains elusive. The trophically transmitted cestode Schistocephalus solidus manipulates the activity of its first intermediate copepod host to reduce its predation susceptibility before the parasite is ready for transmission. Thereafter, S. solidus increases host activity to facilitate transmission to its subsequent fish host. I selected S. solidus for or against host manipulation over three generations to investigate the evolvability of manipulation and identify potential trade-offs. Host manipulation responded to selection, confirming that this trait is heritable in the parasite and hence can present an extended phenotype. Changes in host manipulation were not restrained by any obvious costs.

SUBMITTER: Hafer-Hahmann N 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6364588 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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