Jun 22, 2016

High virulence does not necessarily impede viral adaptation to a new host: A case study using a plant RNA virus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Anouk WillemsenSantiago F Elena


Background: When between-host selection pressures predominate, theory suggests that high virulence could hinder between-host transmission of microparasites, and that virulence therefore will evolve to lower levels that optimize between-host transmission. Highly virulent microparasites could also curtail host development, thereby limiting both the host resources available to them and their own within-host effective population size. High virulence might therefore curtail the mutation supply rate and increase the strength with which genetic drift acts on microparasite populations, thereby limiting the potential to adapt to the host and ultimately perhaps the ability to evolve lower virulence. As a first exploration of this hypothesis, we evolved Tobacco etch virus carrying an eGFP fluorescent marker in two semi-permissive host species, Nicotiana benthamiana and Datura stramonium , for which it has a large difference in virulence. We compared the results to those previously obtained in the typical host, Nicotiana tabacum , where we have shown that carriage of eGFP has a high fitness cost and its loss serves as a real-time indicator of adaptation. Results: After over half a year of evolution, we sequenced the genomes of the evolved ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Biological Markers
RNA Viruses
Fluorescent stain
Tobacco etch virus

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