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Coevolution is the process by which two or more species evolve in tandem by exerting selection pressures on each other. Examples of coevolutionary systems include host and parasites, predators and prey, and mutualistic or symbiotic interactions.
Experiments with populations of great tits found that aposematic prey were avoided over cryptic species, not solely through individual experience, but based on observation of conspecifics’ experience tasting unpalatable prey.
How a trait evolves depends on the shape of its fitness trade-off. Here, Huang et al. demonstrate evolution of trade-off shape in an experimental predator-prey system and develop a mathematical model of trait evolution when the underlying trade-off can also evolve.
Cells of the fungus Rhizopus microsporus contain Burkholderia endobacteria that control its asexual reproduction. Here, the authors show that the endobacteria also mediate mating of the fungal host by modulating expression of a GTPase central to fungal reproductive development.
Host-parasite coevolution can lead to arms races favouring novel immunogenetic alleles or the maintenance of diversity in a balanced polymorphism. Here, Lighten et al. combine data on MHC diversity across three guppy species and simulations to show that polymorphisms of immunogenetic supertypes may persist even as alleles within supertypes are involved in an arms race.
Marine cyanobacteria can shrug off viral assault by inactivating the genes involved in virus attachment. But this strategy has a cost: it may affect cell fitness or even favour infection by other viruses. See Article p.604
In a remarkable example of convergent evolution, insect species spanning 300 million years of divergence have evolved identical single-amino-acid substitutions that confer resistance to plant cardenolide toxins.