Timing of transmission and the evolution of virulence of an insect virus

Vaughn S. Cooper, Michael H. Reiskind, Jonathan A. Miller, Kirsten A. Shelton, Bruno A. Walther, Joseph S. Elkinton, Paul W. Ewald

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Abstract

We used the nuclear polyhedrosis virus of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, to investigate whether the timing of transmission influences the evolution of virulence. In theory, early transmission should favour rapid replication and increase virulence, while late transmission should favour slower replication and reduce virulence. We tested this prediction by subjecting one set of 10 virus lineages to early transmission (Early viruses) and another set to late transmission (Late viruses). Each lineage of virus underwent nine cycles of transmission. Virulence assays on these lineages indicated that viruses transmitted early were significantly more lethal than those transmitted late. Increased exploitation of the host appears to come at a cost, however. While Early viruses initially produced more progeny, Late viruses were ultimately more productive over the entire duration of the infection. These results illustrate fitness trade-offs associated with the evolution of virulence and indicate that milder viruses can obtain a numerical advantage when mild and harmful strains tend to infect separate hosts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1161-1165
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume269
Issue number1496
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 7 2002
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Lymantria dispar
  • Nuclear polyhedrosis virus
  • Timing
  • Trade-off
  • Transmission
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Cooper, V. S., Reiskind, M. H., Miller, J. A., Shelton, K. A., Walther, B. A., Elkinton, J. S., & Ewald, P. W. (2002). Timing of transmission and the evolution of virulence of an insect virus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 269(1496), 1161-1165. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2002.1976