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, 11 (9), 342-5

Evolution of Parasite Life History Traits: Myths and Reality

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Evolution of Parasite Life History Traits: Myths and Reality

R Poulin. Parasitol Today.

Abstract

Parasitism has evolved independently several times in many different animal lineages. Observations made on distantly related parasites have revealed a variety of adaptations to parasitism, including changes in physiology, morphology, and life history traits. These observations have led parasitologists to formulate general rules about the evolution of parasites, rules that define a common evolutionary path presumably followed by all parasitic organisms. Robert Poulin uses recent evidence to question the generality of these rules and to show that parasite evolution may take different roads. The selective pressures acting on parasites are diverse and may guide their evolution in any direction, just as they have shaped a wide variety of free-living organisms.

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