Reticulate evolution is favored in influenza niche switching.

TitleReticulate evolution is favored in influenza niche switching.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMa EJ, Hill NJ, Zabilansky J, Yuan K, Runstadler JA
JournalProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Date Published2016 May 10
KeywordsAnimals, Ecosystem, Evolution, Molecular, Host-Parasite Interactions, Humans, Influenza, Human, Influenzavirus A, Reassortant Viruses, Species Specificity

<p>Reticulate evolution is thought to accelerate the process of evolution beyond simple genetic drift and selection, helping to rapidly generate novel hybrids with combinations of adaptive traits. However, the long-standing dogma that reticulate evolutionary processes are likewise advantageous for switching ecological niches, as in microbial pathogen host switch events, has not been explicitly tested. We use data from the influenza genome sequencing project and a phylogenetic heuristic approach to show that reassortment, a reticulate evolutionary mechanism, predominates over mutational drift in transmission between different host species. Moreover, as host evolutionary distance increases, reassortment is increasingly favored. We conclude that the greater the quantitative difference between ecological niches, the greater the importance of reticulate evolutionary processes in overcoming niche barriers.</p>

Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PubMed ID27114508
PubMed Central IDPMC4868476
Grant ListHHSN272014000008C / / National Institute for Allergy / International