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Spatiotemporal analyses reveal infectious disease-driven selection in a free-ranging ungulate

Cite this dataset

LaCava, Melanie E.F. et al. (2021). Spatiotemporal analyses reveal infectious disease-driven selection in a free-ranging ungulate [Dataset]. Dryad.


Infectious diseases play an important role in wildlife population dynamics by altering individual fitness, but detecting disease-driven natural selection in free-ranging populations is difficult due to complex disease-host relationships. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal infectious prion disease in cervids for which mutations in a single gene have been mechanistically linked to disease outcomes, providing a rare opportunity to study disease-driven selection in wildlife. In Wyoming, USA, CWD has gradually spread across mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations, producing natural variation in disease history to evaluate selection pressure. We used spatial variation and a novel temporal comparison to investigate the relationship between CWD and a mutation at codon 225 of the mule deer prion protein gene that slows disease progression. We found that individuals with the “slow” 225F allele were less likely to test positive for CWD, and the 225F allele was more common in herds exposed to CWD longer. We also found that in the past two decades, the 225F allele frequency increased more in herds with higher CWD prevalence. This study expanded on previous research by analyzing spatiotemporal patterns of individual- and herd-based disease data to present multiple lines of evidence for disease-driven selection in free-ranging wildlife.

Usage notes

This directory contains data and scripts related to our publication. The data include prion protein gene FASTA sequences, sample metadata, a map of Wyoming mule deer herds, chronic wasting disease data for our focal study herds, and data used in our temporal comparison. We also include a script with the R code used in our analyses of these data. See readme.txt for information about each file contained in this directory.


University of Wyoming Program in Ecology

Riverbend Endowment in Wildlife-Livestock Health

Wyoming Governor's Big Game License Coalition

Carlton R. Barkhurst Dissertation Fellowship

Wyoming Excellence Chair funds