Vaccination and reduced cohort duration can drive virulence evolution: Marek's disease virus and industrialized agriculture

Katherine E. Atkins, Andrew F. Read, Nicholas J. Savill, Katrin G. Renz, Afm Fakhrul Islam, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, Mark E.J. Woolhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marek's disease virus (MDV), a commercially important disease of poultry, has become substantially more virulent over the last 60 years. This evolution was presumably a consequence of changes in virus ecology associated with the intensification of the poultry industry. Here, we assess whether vaccination or reduced host life span could have generated natural selection, which favored more virulent strains. Using previously published experimental data, we estimated viral fitness under a range of cohort durations and vaccine treatments on broiler farms. We found that viral fitness maximized at intermediate virulence, as a result of a trade-off between virulence and transmission previously reported. Our results suggest that vaccination, acting on this trade-off, could have led to the evolution of increased virulence. By keeping the host alive, vaccination prolongs infectious periods of virulent strains. Improvements in host genetics and nutrition, which reduced broiler life spans below 50 days, could have also increased the virulence of the circulating MDV strains because shortened cohort duration reduces the impact of host death on viral fitness. These results illustrate the dramatic impact anthropogenic change can potentially have on pathogen virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-860
Number of pages10
JournalEvolution
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

Fingerprint

Marek Disease
Mardivirus
vaccination
virulence
Agriculture
Virulence
virus
Vaccination
agriculture
Viruses
duration
fitness
poultry
trade-off
Poultry Diseases
broiler chickens
poultry diseases
poultry industry
Genetic Selection
vaccine

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Atkins, K. E., Read, A. F., Savill, N. J., Renz, K. G., Islam, A. F., Walkden-Brown, S. W., & Woolhouse, M. E. J. (2013). Vaccination and reduced cohort duration can drive virulence evolution: Marek's disease virus and industrialized agriculture. Evolution, 67(3), 851-860. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01803.x
Atkins, Katherine E. ; Read, Andrew F. ; Savill, Nicholas J. ; Renz, Katrin G. ; Islam, Afm Fakhrul ; Walkden-Brown, Stephen W. ; Woolhouse, Mark E.J. / Vaccination and reduced cohort duration can drive virulence evolution : Marek's disease virus and industrialized agriculture. In: Evolution. 2013 ; Vol. 67, No. 3. pp. 851-860.
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Vaccination and reduced cohort duration can drive virulence evolution : Marek's disease virus and industrialized agriculture. / Atkins, Katherine E.; Read, Andrew F.; Savill, Nicholas J.; Renz, Katrin G.; Islam, Afm Fakhrul; Walkden-Brown, Stephen W.; Woolhouse, Mark E.J.

In: Evolution, Vol. 67, No. 3, 01.03.2013, p. 851-860.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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