Classifying the role of trade-offs in the evolutionary diversity of pathogens

Ivana Gudelj, Ciprian D. Coman, Robert E. Beardmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we use a system of non-local reaction-diffusion equations to study the effect of host heterogeneity on the phenotypic evolution of a pathogen population. The evolving phenotype is taken to be the transmission rate of the pathogen on the different hosts, and in our system there are two host populations present. The central feature of our model is a trade-off relationship between the transmission rates on these hosts, which means that an increase in the pathogen transmission on one host will lead to a decrease in the pathogen transmission on the other. The purpose of the paper is to develop a classification of phenotypic diversity as a function of the shape of the trade-off relationship and this is achieved by determining the maximum number of phenotypes a pathogen population can support in the long term, for a given form of the trade-off. Our findings are then compared with results obtained by applying classical theory from evolutionary ecology and the more recent adaptive dynamics method to the same host-pathogen system. We find our work to be in good agreement with these two approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2065
Early online date4 Nov 2005
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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