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Parasite virulence evolution is shaped by both within-host and population-level processes yet the link between these differing scales of infection is often neglected. Population structure and heterogeneity in both parasites and hosts will affect how hosts are exploited by pathogens and the intensity of infection. Here, it is shown how the degree of relatedness among parasites together with epidemiological parameters such as pathogen yield and longevity influence the evolution of virulence. Furthermore, the role of kin competition and the degree of cheating within highly structured parasite populations also influences parasite fitness and infectivity patterns. Understanding how the effects of within-host processes scale up to affect the epidemiology has importance for understanding host-pathogen interactions.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Epidemiology, Evolution, Molecular, Models, Biological, Parasites, Phylogeny