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Genetic influence on disease spread following arrival of infected carriers

Authors

  • Simon Fellous,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2-IRD 5554, CC 065, University of Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
      E-mailsimonfellous@free.fr
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  • Alison B. Duncan,

    1. Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2-IRD 5554, CC 065, University of Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • Elsa Quillery,

    1. Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2-IRD 5554, CC 065, University of Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • Pedro F. Vale,

    1. Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5175, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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  • Oliver Kaltz

    1. Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR CNRS-UM2-IRD 5554, CC 065, University of Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
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E-mailsimonfellous@free.fr

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2012)

Abstract

Epidemiology in host meta-populations depends on parasite ability to disperse between, establish and persist in distinct sub-populations of hosts. We studied the genetic factors determining the short-term establishment, and long-term maintenance, of pathogens introduced by infected hosts (i.e. carriers) into recipient populations. We used experimental populations of the freshwater ciliate Paramecium caudatum and its bacterial parasite Holospora undulata. Parasite short-term spread (approximately one horizontal transmission cycle) was affected mainly by carrier genotype, and its interactions with parasite and recipient genotypes. By contrast, parasite longer term spread (2–3 horizontal transmission cycles) was mostly determined by parasite isolate. Importantly, measures of parasite short-term success (reproductive number, R) were not good predictors for longer term prevalence, probably because of the specific interactions between host and parasite genotypes. Analogous to variation in vectorial capacity and super-spreader occurrence, two crucial components of epidemiology, we show that carrier genotype can also affect disease spread within meta-populations.

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