Biochemical Coevolution between Parasitoids and their Hosts

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Abstract

The coevolution of a predator and its prey suggests that the prey is selected for predator avoidance and escape while the predator is selected for more efficient prey-finding and capture. The predator attacks and consumes its host and, thus being successful, would be expected to propagate. The parasite-host relationship is a similar reciprocating evolutionary relationship with one important difference—the host should not be killed. The parasite must not only locate the host but must constantly adapt to a developing and changing host, a situation resulting in a closely interwoven relationship. The continued development of a host in accord with the evolutionary development of the host species is of benefit to the parasite. It is probably advantageous for the parasite to evolve towards a condition where the parasite has a minimal affect on the host species. This would insure the continued existence of a viable host population.