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Title: Theoretical aspects of the evolution of reproductive parasites
Author: Engelstaedter, J.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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Reproductive parasites are maternally inherited endosymbionts that manipulate the reproduction of their hosts in a way that enhances the transmission of the parasites, but is deleterious to the hosts. In the present thesis, I try to resolve some ques tions concerning the evolution of reproductive parasites and their hosts by means of theoretical modelling, using a variety of approaches including recurrence equations, optimisation, and stochastic modelling. I first study the question: 'Can male-killing bacteria and meiotic drive elements influence each others' spread and equilibrium frequency in a population' and demonstrate they can. Following this, I examine two questions with respect to host evolution. First, can male-killing or Cl-inducing bacteria facilitate the evolution of haplodiploidy I conclude that past work on this has been overoptimistic, but that the process is possible. Second, how does the pres ence of male-killing bacteria affect basic population genetic processes, in particular the interplay between natural selection and random genetic drift I demonstrate that the host population behaves approximately as if only uninfected individuals existed. I then examine two questions in relation to endosymbiont biology. First, what is the impact of mating systems and segregation on the evolution of new Cl-types I propose outbreeding systems as a context where new CI-types can evolve. Second, how can we expect selection to act on two bacterial strains of reproductive parasites in doubly infected hosts with respect to their density Finally, I examine how we expect the incidence of reproductive parasites to vary in time within a host clade, and how the phylogenetic history of the host clade affects the pattern of spread and expected incidence of the parasites. I conclude my thesis with a general overview of what is known about the evolution of reproductive parasites both empirically and theoretically, and outline some promising future avenues of research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available