If necessity is the mother of invention, the coevolutionary arms race is the mother of adaptation. For parasites and hosts engaged in an ongoing battle to gain advantage, those adaptations take many forms. In a new analysis in the premier open access journal PLoS Biology, Stephanie Bedhomme, Yannis Michalakis, and colleagues extend traditional methods of studying the coevolution of parasite virulence and host life history traits by introducing an additional variable: intraspecific competition between hosts. Unsurprisingly, the authors find that infected individuals pay a cost compared to their healthy counterparts. But surprisingly, both infected and uninfected individuals do better when their competitor is infected: parasite costs ¡Vand virulence ¡V therefore depend on the infection status of the competitors and for an infected mosquito, at least, you stand a better chance of getting your wings and leaving the natal lagoon if more of your larval neighbors are infected too.
By accounting for competition between infected and uninfected mosquitoes, researchers discovered a link between parasitic virulence and the prevalence of infection in a population.
To study the interplay between parasitism and intraspecific competition, Bedhomme et al. worked with the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti and its natural enemy, the single-celled parasite Vavraia culicis. They divided recently hatched mosquito larvae into groups of 60 larvae, and exposed half of the groups to the parasite. Larvae were then placed two by two into vials. Vials contained either two uninfected larvae, two infected larvae, or one infected and one uninfected individual. Infected pairs took longer to develop than uninfected pairs, as expected. But with infected and uninfected pairs, infected larvae took longer to develop than their healthy partners, meaning they are more likely to succumb to the parasite. Competing against a healthy partner increased virulence by increasing development time. Interestingly, however, infected mosquitoes also fared better when paired with an infected competitor. These results suggest that a high incidence, or prevalence, of parasitic infection in the population means that healthy larvae face less competition and do better than they would if they had to compete with healthy individuals. Infected individuals will also do better if theres a high prevalence of infection because they are more likely to compete against equally poor competitors. Thus, by ignoring the effects of competition, standard models underestimate the full costs of virulence - and, more important, miss a significant link between a parasites prevalence in a population and its virulence.
'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine