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Data from: Coevolution between mutualists and parasites in symbiotic communities may lead to the evolution of lower virulence

Citation

Nelson, Paul G.; May, Georgiana (2017), Data from: Coevolution between mutualists and parasites in symbiotic communities may lead to the evolution of lower virulence, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dd414

Abstract

Most eukaryotes harbor a diverse community of parasitic, mutualistic and commensal microbial symbionts. Although the diversity of these microbial symbiotic communities has recently drawn considerable attention, theory regarding the evolution of interactions among symbionts and with the host is still in nascent stages. Here we evaluate the role of interactions among co-infecting symbionts in the evolution of symbiont virulence towards the host. To do so, we place the virulence-transmission trade-off into a community context and model the evolution of symbiont trophic modes along the continuum from parasitism (virulence) to mutualism (negative virulence). We establish a framework for studying multiple infections of a host by the same symbiont species, and co-infection by multiple species, using a concept of shared costs, wherein the negative consequences of virulence, or harm, toward the host are shared among symbionts. Our results show that mutualism can be maintained under infection by multiple symbionts when shared costs are sufficiently low, while greater virulence and parasitism toward the host are more likely when shared costs are high. Lastly, for co-infection by more than one species, we show that if the presence of a mutualist ameliorates some of the costs of pathogen virulence, then the symbiotic community may more often evolve to a more commensal state and maintain mutualisms.

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