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Title: The dynamics of evolutionary rescue from a novel pathogen threat in a host metapopulation
Abstract When a novel disease strikes a naïve host population, there is evidence that the most immediate response can involve host evolution while the pathogen remains relatively unchanged. When hosts also live in metapopulations, there may be critical differences in the dynamics that emerge from the synergy among evolutionary, ecological, and epidemiological factors. Here we used a Susceptible-Infected-Recovery model to explore how spatial and temporal ecological factors may drive the epidemiological and rapid-evolutionary dynamics of host metapopulations. For simplicity, we assumed two host genotypes: wild type, which has a positive intrinsic growth rate in the absence of disease, and robust type, which is less likely to catch the infection given exposure but has a lower intrinsic growth rate in the absence of infection. We found that the robust-type host would be strongly selected for in the presence of disease when transmission differences between the two types is large. The growth rate of the wild type had dual but opposite effects on host composition: a smaller increase in wild-type growth increased wild-type competition and lead to periodical disease outbreaks over the first generations after pathogen introduction, while larger growth increased disease by providing more susceptibles, which increased robust host density but decreased periodical outbreaks. Increased migration had a similar impact as the increased differential susceptibility, both of which led to an increase in robust hosts and a decrease in periodical outbreaks. Our study provided a comprehensive understanding of the combined effects among migration, disease epidemiology, and host demography on host evolution with an unchanging pathogen. The findings have important implications for wildlife conservation and zoonotic disease control.  more » « less
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Scientific Reports
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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