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Keywords:

  • Horizontal gene transfer;
  • host-parasite evolution;
  • selfish genetic elements;
  • symbiosis;
  • vertical transmission

In a recent study of the symbiosis between bacteria and plasmids, the available evidence suggests that experimental evolution of plasmid virulence was primarily driven by within-host competition caused by superinfection. The data do not exclude the possibility, however, that a trade-off between virulence and infectious transmission to uninfected bacteria also played a minor role.