Frank, S. A. 1991. Ecological and genetic models of host-pathogen coevolution. Heredity 67:73-83.

A model is presented to analyze the forces that maintain genetic polymorphism in interactions between host plants and their pathogens. Genetic variability in hosts occurs for specific resistance to different pathogen races and variability in pathogens occurs for specific virulence to different host races. The model tracks both fluctuating population sizes and changing gene frequencies. Analyses over a range of parameters show that ecological and demographic factors, such as birth and death rates, often have a more profound effect on the amount of polymorphism than genetic parameters, such as the pleiotropic costs of resistance and virulence associated with different alleles. A series of simple measures are proposed to predict the amount of genetic polymorphism expected in particular host-pathogen interactions. These measures can be used to develop and test a comparative theory of genetic polymorphism in host-pathogen coevolution.


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