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© 2001 CISAB Curtis M. Lively

Department of Biology
Indiana University

Host-Parasite Coevolution and the Persistence of Sexual Reproduction   video
Lecture for Spring 2001 Graduate Seminar:  
International Hamilton Symposium

W. D. Hamilton was one of the first to suggest that coevolution with parasites could lead to selection for sexual as opposed to asexual reproduction. I briefly trace the history of Hamilton's thinking on this subject, particularly his concern about the strength of parasite-mediated selection required to compensate for the two-fold cost of sex. I also discuss recent studies from a freshwater snail that were designed to test the expectations and necessary conditions for the parasite hypothesis of sex (also known as the Red Queen hypothesis). The snails are useful for these studies, because both sexual and asexual modes of reproduction are known to occur. The results of these studies are surprising consistent with the Red Queen hypothesis in showing that (1) sexual populations are more common where virulent parasites also exist, and that (2) parasites are adapted to infecting local populations of their hosts as well as common genotypes within these populations. Finally, I discuss how host-parasite coevolution might aid the accumulation of deleterious mutations in clonal host populations, and how this process might prevent the elimination of sexual females by a genetically diverse assemblage of clones.

© 2001 CISAB West, S. A., C. M. Lively, and A. F. Read. 1999. A pluralist approach to sex and recombination. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 12:1003-1012.

Lively, C.M. 1999. Migration, virulence, and the geographic mosaic of adaptation by parasites. American Naturalist 153:S34-S47.

Peters, A.D. and C.M. Lively. 1999. The Red Queen and fluctuating epistasis: A population genetic analysis of antagonistic coevolution. American Naturalist 154:393-405.

Lively, C. M. and M. F. Dybdahl. 2000. Parasite adaptation to locally common host genotypes. Nature 405:679-681.

Lively, C. M. In press 2001. Propagule interactions and the evolution of virulence. Journal of Evolutionary Biology.   [PDF Preprint]

Lively, C.M. In press 2001. Trematode infection and the distribution and dynamics of parthenogenetic snail populations. Parasitology.   [PDF Preprint]


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