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Variation and correlations between sexual, asexual and natural enemy resistance life-history traits in a natural plant pathogen population


Numminen, Elina; Vaumourin, Elise; Parratt, Steven R; Poulin, Lucie; Laine, Anna-Liisa (2019). Variation and correlations between sexual, asexual and natural enemy resistance life-history traits in a natural plant pathogen population. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19(1):142.

Abstract

Background
Understanding the mechanisms by which diversity is maintained in pathogen populations is critical for epidemiological predictions. Life-history trade-offs have been proposed as a hypothesis for explaining long-term maintenance of variation in pathogen populations, yet the empirical evidence supporting trade-offs has remained mixed. This is in part due to the challenges of documenting successive pathogen life-history stages in many pathosystems. Moreover, little is understood of the role of natural enemies of pathogens on their life-history evolution.
Results
We characterize life-history-trait variation and possible trade-offs in fungal pathogen Podosphaera plantaginis infecting the host plant Plantago lanceolata. We measured the timing of both asexual and sexual stages, as well as resistance to a hyperparasite of seven pathogen strains that vary in their prevalence in nature. We find significant variation among the strains in their life-history traits that constitute the infection cycle, but no evidence for trade-offs among pathogen development stages, apart from fast pathogen growth coninciding with fast hyperparasite growth. Also, the seemingly least fit pathogen strain was the most prevalent in the nature.
Conclusions
We conclude that in the nature environmental variation, and interactions with the antagonists of pathogens themselves may maintain variation in pathogen populations.

Abstract

Background
Understanding the mechanisms by which diversity is maintained in pathogen populations is critical for epidemiological predictions. Life-history trade-offs have been proposed as a hypothesis for explaining long-term maintenance of variation in pathogen populations, yet the empirical evidence supporting trade-offs has remained mixed. This is in part due to the challenges of documenting successive pathogen life-history stages in many pathosystems. Moreover, little is understood of the role of natural enemies of pathogens on their life-history evolution.
Results
We characterize life-history-trait variation and possible trade-offs in fungal pathogen Podosphaera plantaginis infecting the host plant Plantago lanceolata. We measured the timing of both asexual and sexual stages, as well as resistance to a hyperparasite of seven pathogen strains that vary in their prevalence in nature. We find significant variation among the strains in their life-history traits that constitute the infection cycle, but no evidence for trade-offs among pathogen development stages, apart from fast pathogen growth coninciding with fast hyperparasite growth. Also, the seemingly least fit pathogen strain was the most prevalent in the nature.
Conclusions
We conclude that in the nature environmental variation, and interactions with the antagonists of pathogens themselves may maintain variation in pathogen populations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 December 2019
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 13:01
Last Modified:22 Apr 2020 21:24
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-2148
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-019-1468-2

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