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Four QTL underlie resistance to a microsporidian parasite that may drive genome evolution in its Daphnia host

Abstract

Despite its pivotal role in evolutionary and ecological processes the genetic architecture underlying host-parasite interactions remains understudied. Here we use a quantitative trait loci approach to identify regions in the Daphnia magna genome that provide resistance against its microsporidium parasite Ordospora colligata. The probability that Daphnia became infected was affected by a single locus and an interaction between two additional loci. A fourth locus influenced the number of spores that grew within the host. Comparing our findings to previously published genetic work on Daphnia magna revealed that two of these loci may be the same as detected for another microsporidium parasite, suggesting a general immune response to this group of pathogens. More importantly, this comparison revealed that two regions previously identified to be under selection coincided with parasite resistance loci, highlighting the pivotal role parasites may play in shaping the host genome.

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