Oliver Kaltz and colleagues have just published an article in Evolutionary Applications entitled
« Shared influence of pathogen and host genetics on a trade-off between latent period and spore production capacity in the wheat pathogen, Puccinia triticina »
Crop pathogens are notorious for their rapid adaptation to their host. We still know little about the evolution of their life cycles and whether there might be trade-offs between fitness components, limiting the evolutionary potential of these pathogens. In this study, we explored a trade-off between spore production capacity and latent period in Puccinia triticina, a fungal pathogen causing leaf rust on wheat. Using a simple multivariate (manova) technique, we showed that the covariance between the two traits is under shared control of host and pathogen, with contributions from host genotype (57%), pathogen genotype (18.4%) and genotypexgenotype interactions (12.5%). We also found variation in sign and strength of genetic correlations for the pathogen, when measured on different host varieties. Our results suggest that these important pathogen life-history traits do not freely respond to directional selection and that precise evolutionary trajectories are contingent on the genetic identity of the interacting host and pathogen.
Pariaud et al. 2013. EVOLUTIONARY APPLICATIONS Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Pages: 303-312