Common garden experiment reveals pathogen isolate but no host genetic diversity effect on the dynamics of an emerging wildlife disease

D. M. Hawley, K. V. Dhondt, Andrew P. Dobson, J. L. Grodio, W. M. Hochachka, D. H. Ley, E. E. Osnas, K. A. Schat, A. A. Dhondt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Host genetic diversity can mediate pathogen resistance within and among populations. Here we test whether the lower prevalence of Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in native North American house finch populations results from greater resistance to the causative agent, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), than introduced, recently-bottlenecked populations that lack genetic diversity. In a common garden experiment, we challenged wild-caught western (native) and eastern (introduced) North American finches with a representative eastern or western MG isolate. Although introduced finches in our study had lower neutral genetic diversity than native finches, we found no support for a population-level genetic diversity effect on host resistance. Instead we detected strong support for isolate differences: the MG isolate circulating in western house finch populations produced lower virulence, but higher pathogen loads, in both native and introduced hosts. Our results indicate that contemporary differences in host genetic diversity likely do not explain the lower conjunctivitis prevalence in native house finches, but isolate-level differences in virulence may play an important role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1680-1688
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Keywords

  • Carpodacus mexicanus
  • Common garden experiment
  • Evolution of virulence
  • Host genetic diversity
  • Host-pathogen interaction
  • Mycoplasma gallisepticum

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