The Evolution of Viruses in Multi-Host Fitness Landscapes
Santiago F Elena*, Patricia Agudelo-Romero, Jasna Lalić
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2009
First Page: 1
Last Page: 6
Publisher Id: TOVJ-3-1
Article History:Received Date: 29/1/2009
Revision Received Date: 10/2/2009
Acceptance Date: 17/2/2009
Electronic publication date: 19/3/2009
Collection year: 2009
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Provided that generalist viruses will have access to potentially unlimited hosts, the question is why most viruses specialize in few hosts. It has been suggested that selection should favor specialists because there are tradeoffs limiting the fitness of generalists in any of the alternative hosts or because evolution proceeds faster with narrower niches. Here we review experiments showing that virus adaptation to a specific host is often coupled with fitness losses in alternative ones. In most instances, mutations beneficial in one host are detrimental in another. This antagonistic pleiotropy should limit the range of adaptation and promote the evolution of specialization. However, when hosts fluctuate in time or space, selective pressures are different and generalist viruses may evolve as well.