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Data from: Variation and correlations between sexual, asexual and natural enemy resistance life-history traits in a natural plant pathogen population

Citation

Numminen, Elina et al. (2019), Data from: Variation and correlations between sexual, asexual and natural enemy resistance life-history traits in a natural plant pathogen population, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.56b7s48

Abstract

Background:Understanding the mechanisms by which diversity is maintained in pathogen populations is critical for epidemiological predictions. Life-history trade-offs have been proposed as a hypothesis for explaining long-term maintenance of variation in pathogen populations, yet the empirical evidence supporting trade-offs has remained mixed. This is in part due to the challenges of documenting successive pathogen life-history stages in many pathosystems. Moreover, little is understood of the role of natural enemies of pathogens on their life-history evolution. Results: We characterize life-history-trait variation and possible trade-offs in fungal pathogen Podosphaera plantaginis infecting the host plant Plantago lanceolata. We measured the timing of both asexual and sexual stages, as well as resistance to a hyperparasite of seven pathogen strains that vary in their prevalence in nature. We find significant variation among the strains in their life-history traits that constitute the infection cycle, but no evidence for trade-offs among pathogen development stages, apart from fast pathogen growth coninciding with fast hyperparasite growth. Also, the seemingly least fit pathogen strain was the most prevalent in the nature. Conclusions: We conclude that in the nature environmental variation, and interactions with the antagonists of pathogens themselves may maintain variation in pathogen populations.

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