Spatial parasite transmission, drug resistance, and the spread of rare genes

S. J. Cornell, V. S. Isham, G. Smith, B. T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The transmission of many parasitic worms involves aggregated movement between hosts of "packets" of infectious larvae. We use a generic metapopulation model to show that this aggregation naturally promotes the preferential spread of rare recessive genes, compared with the expectations of traditional nonspatial models. A more biologically realistic model also demonstrates that this effect could explain the rapid observed spread of recessive or weakly dominant drug-resistant genotypes in nematode parasites of sheep. This promotion of a recessive trait arises from a novel mechanism of inbreeding arising from the metapopulation dynamics of transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7401-7405
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 10 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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