Competitiveness and life-history characteristics of Daphnia with respect to susceptibility to a bacterial pathogen

T J Little, H J Carius, O Sakwinska, D Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Costs of resistance, i.e. trade-offs between resistance to parasites or pathogens and other fitness components, may prevent the fixation of resistant genotypes and therefore explain the maintenance of genetic polymorphism for resistance in the wild. Using two approaches, the cost of resistance to a sterilizing bacterial pathogen were tested for in the crustacean Daphnia magna. First, groups of susceptible and resistant hosts from each of four natural populations were compared in terms of their life-history characteristics. Secondly, we examined the competitiveness of nine clones from one population for which more detailed information on genetic variation for resistance was known. In no case did the results show that competitiveness or life history characteristics of resistant Daphnia systematically differed from susceptible ones. These results suggest that costs of resistance are unlikely to explain the maintenance of genetic variation in D. magna populations. We discuss methods for measuring fitness and speculate on which genetic models of host-parasite co-evolution may apply to the Daphnia-microparasite system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-802
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002

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