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Data from: No measurable fitness cost to experimentally evolved host defense in the Caenorhabditis elegans-Serratia marcescens host-parasite system

Citation

Penley, McKenna J. et al. (2018), Data from: No measurable fitness cost to experimentally evolved host defense in the Caenorhabditis elegans-Serratia marcescens host-parasite system, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cc3km5t

Abstract

Host susceptibility to parasites can vary over space and time. Costs associated with the maintenance of host defense are thought to account for a portion of this variation. Specifically, tradeoffs wherein elevated defense is maintained at the cost of fitness in the absence of the parasite may cause levels of host defense to change over time and differ between populations. In previous studies we found that populations of the host nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans evolved greater levels of parasite avoidance and resistance against the bacterial parasite, Serratia marcescens. Here, we passaged these host populations either in the presence or absence of the parasite to test for a cost of elevated host defenses. After 16 generations, we found that elevated levels of host defense were maintained during evolution in both the presence and absence of the parasite. Further, this maintenance of defense was not the result of limited standing genetic variation, but rather the absence of a measurable cost associated with defense. Therefore, costs associated with host defense may not broadly account for differences in host susceptibility across space and time.

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