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Coevolution: Host–Parasite

  1. Dustin J Penn

Published Online: 19 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001765



How to Cite

Penn, D. J. 2001. Coevolution: Host–Parasite. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2001


Hosts and their parasites have an intimate and antagonistic relationship; therefore, they are expected to play important roles in influencing each other's evolution. When a host evolves a defence against a parasite, then the parasite may evolve counter-adaptations to its host's defence. Host–parasite coevolution may have several possible outcomes, and, contrary to popular belief, does not necessarily lead to mutualism.


  • infectious diseases;
  • myxomatosis;
  • virulence;
  • immunology;
  • HIV