Parasite-mediated disruptive selection in a natural Daphnia population

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


Background. A mismatch has emerged between models and data of host-parasite evolution. Theory readily predicts that parasites can promote host diversity through mechanisms such as disruptive selection. Yet, despite these predictions, empirical evidence for parasite-mediated increases in host diversity remains surprisingly scant. Results. Here, we document parasite-mediated disruptive selection on a natural Daphnia population during a parasite epidemic. The mean susceptibility of clones collected from the population before and after the epidemic did not differ, but clonal variance and broad-sense heritability of post-epidemic clones were significantly greater, indicating disruptive selection and rapid evolution. A maximum likelihood method that we developed for detecting selection on natural populations also suggests disruptive selection during the epidemic: the distribution of susceptibilities in the population shifted from unimodal prior to the epidemic to bimodal after the epidemic. Interestingly, this same bimodal distribution was retained after a generation of sexual reproduction. Conclusion. These results provide rare empirical support for parasite-driven increases in host genetic diversity, and suggest that this increase can occur rapidly. © 2008 Duffy et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Duffy, M. A., Brassil, C. E., Hall, S. R., Tessier, A. J., Cáceres, C. E., & Conner, J. K. (2008). Parasite-mediated disruptive selection in a natural Daphnia population. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 8(1).

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free