Parasite manipulation of host behavior

Curr Biol. 2019 Jan 21;29(2):R45-R47. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.001.


Some parasites have evolved the ability to precisely control the behavior of animals in ways that enhance the transmission of parasite genes into the next generation. This is the concept of the 'extended phenotype' first conceived by Richard Dawkins in 1982. It states that the behavior we observe in animals is due not only to the expression of their genes, but also to the genes of parasites infecting them. In such cases, the behavior is an extended phenotype of the parasite.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Parasites / physiology*
  • Phenotype*