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      Cost of resistance to trematodes in freshwater snail populations with low clonal diversity

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          The persistence of high genetic variability in natural populations garners considerable interest among ecologists and evolutionary biologists. One proposed hypothesis for the maintenance of high levels of genetic diversity relies on frequency-dependent selection imposed by parasites on host populations (Red Queen hypothesis). A complementary hypothesis suggests that a trade-off between fitness costs associated with tolerance to stress factors and fitness costs associated with resistance to parasites is responsible for the maintenance of host genetic diversity.


          The present study investigated whether host resistance to parasites is traded off with tolerance to environmental stress factors (high/low temperatures, high salinity), by comparing populations of the freshwater snail Melanoides tuberculata with low vs. high clonal diversity. Since polyclonal populations were found to be more parasitized than populations with low clonal diversity, we expected them to be tolerant to environmental stress factors. We found that clonal diversity explained most of the variation in snail survival under high temperature, thereby suggesting that tolerance to high temperatures of clonally diverse populations is higher than that of populations with low clonal diversity.


          Our results suggest that resistance to parasites may come at a cost of reduced tolerance to certain environmental stress factors.

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          Most cited references 52

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          A Mathematical Theory of Communication

           C. Shannon (1948)
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            The function of heat-shock proteins in stress tolerance: degradation and reactivation of damaged proteins.

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              Disentangling genetic variation for resistance and tolerance to infectious diseases in animals.

              Hosts can in principle employ two different strategies to defend themselves against parasites: resistance and tolerance. Animals typically exhibit considerable genetic variation for resistance (the ability to limit parasite burden). However, little is known about whether animals can evolve tolerance (the ability to limit the damage caused by a given parasite burden). Using rodent malaria in laboratory mice as a model system and the statistical framework developed by plant-pathogen biologists, we demonstrated genetic variation for tolerance, as measured by the extent to which anemia and weight loss increased with increasing parasite burden. Moreover, resistance and tolerance were negatively genetically correlated. These results mean that animals, like plants, can evolve two conceptually different types of defense, a finding that has important implications for the understanding of the epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases.

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                +972-3-6406080 ,
                BMC Ecol
                BMC Ecol
                BMC Ecology
                BioMed Central (London )
                13 December 2017
                13 December 2017
                : 17
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0546, GRID grid.12136.37, School of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, , Tel Aviv University, ; 6997801 Tel Aviv, Israel
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0546, GRID grid.12136.37, Institute for Cereal Crops Improvement, , Tel Aviv University, ; 6997801 Tel Aviv, Israel
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, United States - Israel Binational Science Foundation;
                Award ID: 2011011
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                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2017


                trade-offs, clonal diversity, melanoides tuberculata, parasitism, red queen hypothesis


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