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GENETIC EROSION IN WILD POPULATIONS MAKES RESISTANCE TO A PATHOGEN MORE COSTLY

Authors

  • Emilien Luquet,

    1. CNRS UMR 5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
    2. E-mail: emilien.luquet@gmail.com
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  • Trenton W.J. Garner,

    1. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, NW1 4RY, London, U.K.
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  • Jean-Paul Léna,

    1. CNRS UMR 5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
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  • Christophe Bruel,

    1. CNRS UMR 5240 Microbiologie, Adaptation et Pathogénie, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
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  • Pierre Joly,

    1. CNRS UMR 5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
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  • Thierry Lengagne,

    1. CNRS UMR 5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
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  • Odile Grolet,

    1. CNRS UMR 5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
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  • Sandrine Plénet

    1. CNRS UMR 5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Université de Lyon, 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France
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Abstract

Populations that have suffered from genetic erosion are expected to exhibit reduced average trait values or decreased variation in adaptive traits when experiencing periodic or emergent stressors such as infectious disease. Genetic erosion may consequentially modify the ability of a potential host population to cope with infectious disease emergence. We experimentally investigate this relationship between genetic variability and host response to exposure to an infectious agent both in terms of susceptibility to infection and indirect parasite-mediated responses that also impact fitness. We hypothesized that the deleterious consequences of exposure to the pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) would be more severe for tadpoles descended from European treefrog (Hyla arborea) populations lacking genetic variability. Although all exposed tadpoles lacked detectable infection, we detected this relationship for some indirect host responses, predominantly in genetically depleted animals, as well as an interaction between genetic variability and pathogen dose on life span during the postmetamorphic period. Lack of infection and a decreased mass and postmetamorphic life span in low genetic diversity tadpoles lead us to conclude that genetic erosion, while not affecting the ability to mount effective resistance strategies, also erodes the capacity to invest in resistance, increased tadpole growth rate, and metamorphosis relatively simultaneously.

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