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Revista mexicana de biodiversidad

versión On-line ISSN 2007-8706versión impresa ISSN 1870-3453


BROOKS, Daniel R.; MCLENNAN, Deborah A.; LEON-REGAGNON, Virginia  y  HOBERG, Eric. Phylogeny, ecological fitting and lung flukes: helping solve the problem of emerging infectious diseases. Rev. Mex. Biodiv. [online]. 2006, vol.77, n.2, pp.225-233. ISSN 2007-8706.

Traditional wisdom, based on assumptions of species-specific coevolutionary interactions between hosts and parasites, suggests that pathogens with multi-host life cycles are unlikely to move with their definitive hosts because their transmission requirements are so specialized. Ecological fitting provides a theory of diffuse coevolution, which allows introduced pathogens with complex life cycles to become established and spread rapidly into native hosts if the resource required at each stage of the life cycle is both phylogenetically conservative (distributed among numerous species) and geographically widespread. The external appearance of life cycle complexity does not, therefore, on its own, predict the potential for an organism to become an emerging infectious disease. We apply this concept to explain a potential enigma, the presence of a lung fluke, Haematoloechus floedae, endemic to North American bullfrogs, in Costa Rican leopard frogs, even though there are no bullfrogs extant in the country today, and none ever occurred where the parasite has been discovered. We then discuss how the integration of ecological and life history information within a phylogenetic framework can help biologists move from attempts to manage emerging infectious disease outbreaks to the ability to predict and thus circumvent the outbreak in the first place.

Palabras llave : ecological fitting; emerging infectious diseases; pathogen pollution; introduced species; leopard frogs; bullfrogs; Haematoloechus floedae.

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