Mar 5, 2008

The evolutionary costs of immunological maintenance and deployment

BMC Evolutionary Biology
Kurt A McKeanAndrew G Clark


The evolution of disease resistance and immune function may be limited if increased immunocompetence comes at the expense of other fitness-determining traits. Both the maintenance of an immune system and the deployment of an immune response can be costly, and the observed costs may be evaluated as either physiological or evolutionary in origin. Evolutionary costs of immunological maintenance are revealed as negative genetic correlations between immunocompetence and fitness in the absence of infection. Costs of deployment are most often studied as physiological costs associated with immune system induction, however, evolutionary costs of deployment may also be present if genotypes vary in the extent of the physiological cost experienced. In this study we analyzed evolutionary and physiological costs of immunity in two environments representing food-limited and food-unlimited conditions. Patterns of genetic variation were estimated in females from 40 'hemiclone families' isolated from a population of D. melanogaster. Phenotypes evaluated included fecundity, weight measures at different time periods and resistance to Providencia rettgeri, a naturally occurring Gram-negative pathogen of D. melanogaster. In the food-limited environm...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

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Immune Response
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Micrococcus luteus
Biochemical Pathway
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