Mutualistic symbioses between viruses and their hosts do not employ a straightforward rule by viral genome characteristics, transmission mechanisms or host genotypes. In this review we propose that reproduction rates and environmental carrying capacity of hosts may play a major role in maintaining the mutualism. Depending on how host life history shifts following establishment of the symbiosis, a symbiosis can be classified as quality-selected mutualism or quantity-selected mutualism. Quality-selected mutualism is described with modified Lotka-Volterra models. Both our models and previous empirical examples support the hypothesis that quality-selected mutualism can reach stable equilibrium under certain conditions. Quantity-selected mutualism is rare and is not supported by our model. With increasing attention to mutualistic viral ecology, we will have a better understanding of how viruses drive evolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases