Abstracts (first author)
Experimental evolution of plasticity in a virus
Coinfection of parasite genotypes can select for various changes in parasite life history strategies, with consequences for disease dynamics and severity. Here we show adaptive phenotypic plasticity evolving in real time in response to coinfection under conditions in which both single infections and coinfections are common. We experimentally evolved an obligate-killing virus under conditions of single virus infections (single lines) or a mix of single infections and coinfections (mixed lines) and found mixed lines to evolve a plastic lysis time: they killed host cells more rapidly when coinfecting than when infecting alone. This behaviour resulted in high fitness under both infection conditions. We also discuss how population structure and the importance of within-patch prudence affects the fitness and virulence of populations of these viruses. Such plasticity and prudence has important consequences for the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the evolution of cooperation.