Abstracts (first author)


Evolution of a transgenerational response to parasites, the maternal transfer of antibodies: theory, experiments and comparative approaches

Author(s): Boulinier T, Garnier R, Ramos R, Gandon S


Among the many responses that hosts show against parasites, the transgenerational transfer of immunity is now receiving increased attention due to its broad potential evolutionary, epidemiological and ecological implications. In vertebrates, the maternal transfer of antibodies is a transgenerational response to parasites for which there is a relatively strong mechanistic and biomedical understanding of the processes involved. Recent theoretical work and experiments we conducted to address evolutionary predictions are nevertheless shedding new light on both the proximate and ultimate processes involved. We notably found that the temporal persistence of maternal antibodies in young birds after hatching can be much longer than previously thought, and that this persistence is predictably linked to the life history of the considered species. Because of the mechanistic link between antibody persistence in adults and young, this has implication for the evolution of acquired immunity. We also showed that offspring can receive maternal antibodies via allosuckling in social mammals. Such results have wide implications, from comparative immunology and the evolution of social behaviours, to the use of vaccines as management tools in eco-epidemiology. They also call for further work at the interface between mechanistic and evolutionary approaches.


Abstracts (coauthor)


Historical patterns of dispersal and population isolation are key components shaping contemporary genetic diversity across landscapes. Here, we investigate the colonisation history of a common ectoparasite of colonial seabirds, the tick Ixodes uriae. This tick has a circumpolar distribution across both hemispheres, but has repeatedly formed host-specific races within different seabird host communities. By combining mitochondrial and nuclear data and analyzing this data using both phylogenetic and phylogeographic frameworks, we infer how this species reached its present-day distribution and how the colonisation process has affected the geographic structuring of this tick among colonies and host species. We show the existence of four/five genetic groups that correspond to well-defined geographic regions. Our data indicates that Ixodes uriae colonised the southern hemisphere before moving into northern latitudes. However, no relationship between the degree of host race evolution and colonisation history was evident suggesting that host specialisation can evolve rapidly but never leads to speciation. We discuss the possible historical and contemporary mechanisms of large scale dispersal for this ectoparasite and how its biological characteristics may condition current patterns of genetic diversity.


Chairman: Octávio S. Paulo
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XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Organization Team
Department of Animal Biology (DBA)
Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
P-1749-016 Lisbon


Computational Biology & Population Genomics Group