Many disease-causing microbes are not obligate pathogens; rather, they are environmental microbes taking advantage of an ecological opportunity. The existence of microbes whose life cycle does not require a host and are not normally pathogenic, yet are well-suited to host exploitation, is an evolutionary puzzle. One hypothesis posits that selection in the environment may favor traits that incidentally lead to pathogenicity and virulence, or serve as pre-adaptations for survival in a host. An example of such a trait is surface adherence. To experimentally test the idea of 'accidental virulence', replicate populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were evolved to attach to a plastic bead for hundreds of generations. Along with plastic adherence, two multicellular phenotypes- biofilm formation and flor formation- increased; another phenotype, pseudohyphal growth, responded to the nutrient limitation. Thus, experimental selection led to the evolution of highly-adherent, hyper-multicellular strains. Wax moth larvae injected with evolved hyper-multicellular strains were significantly more likely to die than those injected with evolved non-multicellular strains. Hence, selection on plastic adherence incidentally led to the evolution of enhanced multicellularity and increased virulence. Our results support the idea that selection for a trait beneficial in the open environment can inadvertently generate opportunistic, 'accidental' pathogens.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file; Source Data files have been provided for Figures 1, 2, and 5.
- Helen A Murphy
- Helen A Murphy
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Diane M Harper, University of Michigan, United States
© 2023, Ekdahl et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cultural and socioeconomic differences stratify human societies and shape their genetic structure beyond the sole effect of geography. Despite mating being limited by sociocultural stratification, most demographic models in population genetics often assume random mating. Taking advantage of the correlation between sociocultural stratification and the proportion of genetic ancestry in admixed populations, we sought to infer the former process in the Americas. To this aim, we define a mating model where the individual proportions of the genome inherited from Native American, European and sub-Saharan African ancestral populations constrain the mating probabilities through ancestry-related assortative mating and sex bias parameters. We simulate a wide range of admixture scenarios under this model. Then, we train a deep neural network and retrieve good performance in predicting mating parameters from genomic data. Our results show how population stratification shaped by socially constructed racial and gender hierarchies have constrained the admixture processes in the Americas since the European colonisation and the subsequent Atlantic slave trade.
Groups of animals inhabit vastly different sensory worlds, or umwelten, which shape fundamental aspects of their behaviour. Yet the sensory ecology of species is rarely incorporated into the emerging field of collective behaviour, which studies the movements, population-level behaviours, and emergent properties of animal groups. Here, we review the contributions of sensory ecology and collective behaviour to understanding how animals move and interact within the context of their social and physical environments. Our goal is to advance and bridge these two areas of inquiry and highlight the potential for their creative integration. To achieve this goal, we organise our review around the following themes: (1) identifying the promise of integrating collective behaviour and sensory ecology; (2) defining and exploring the concept of a ‘sensory collective’; (3) considering the potential for sensory collectives to shape the evolution of sensory systems; (4) exploring examples from diverse taxa to illustrate neural circuits involved in sensing and collective behaviour; and (5) suggesting the need for creative conceptual and methodological advances to quantify ‘sensescapes’. In the final section, (6) applications to biological conservation, we argue that these topics are timely, given the ongoing anthropogenic changes to sensory stimuli (e.g. via light, sound, and chemical pollution) which are anticipated to impact animal collectives and group-level behaviour and, in turn, ecosystem composition and function. Our synthesis seeks to provide a forward-looking perspective on how sensory ecologists and collective behaviourists can both learn from and inspire one another to advance our understanding of animal behaviour, ecology, adaptation, and evolution.