Within-host interference competition can prevent invasion of rare parasites

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Quigley, Benjamin J. Z.
Brown, Sam P.
Leggett, Helen C.
Scanlan, Pauline D.
Buckling, Angus
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Cambridge University Press
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Competition between parasite species or genotypes can play an important role in the establishment of parasites in new host populations. Here, we investigate a mechanism by which a rare parasite is unable to establish itself in a host population if a common resident parasite is already present (a 'priority effect'). We develop a simple epidemiological model and show that a rare parasite genotype is unable to invade if coinfecting parasite genotypes inhibit each other's transmission more than expected from simple resource partitioning. This is because a rare parasite is more likely to be in multiply-infected hosts than the common genotype, and hence more likely to pay the cost of reduced transmission. Experiments competing interfering clones of bacteriophage infecting a bacterium support the model prediction that the clones are unable to invade each other from rare. We briefly discuss the implications of these results for host-parasite ecology and (co)evolution.
Multiplicity of infection , MOI , Interference competition , Positive frequency dependence , Bacteria , Phage
Quigley, B. J. Z., Brown, S. P., Leggett, H. C., Scanlan, P. D. and Buckling, A. (2017) 'Within-host interference competition can prevent invasion of rare parasites', Journal of Parasitology, 145(6), pp. 770-774. doi: 10.1017/S003118201700052X
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