Abstracts (first author)
Experimental evolution for growth rate and its implications for infection success, co-infection dynamics, and virulence in a trypanosome parasite of bumblebees
Host-parasite interactions and their outcomes are strongly affected by several factors such as host and parasite genotypes and environmental conditions. Selection on basic growth properties in parasites may have far reaching consequences for numerous parasite traits, infection outcome and importantly the consequences for host fitness. It is know that strains of the trypanosome parasite of bumblebees Crithidia bombi have widely varying growth rates when cultured in vitro. We aim to experimentally evolve this parasite in vitro selecting for fast and slow growing sub-lines. This will enable us to investigate the costs, benefits and fitness trade-offs related to parasite growth rate by subsequently measuring in vivo infection profiles, transmission, and competitive ability under co-infection. To our knowledge, it would be the first time ecological trypanosome isolates have been experimentally evolved in vitro. These results will help define the fitness consequences for the observed natural variation in C. bombi growth, and will also inform important aspects of host-parasite evolution including the evolution of virulence.