Does natural selection favour organisms that don't kill hosts?

  • 2 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.



  • Guest
Yasser  asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Naked Scientists,
In relation to the H1N1 virus, I was just wondering the following question. If natural selection is to be believed, does that validate the proposal that natural selection favours micro organisms that do not kill their hosts?

And if you take this even further does that mean that natural selection (in general for a variety of species) does not favour the H1N1 virus?
Best Regards,
Yasser in Canada

What do you think?


Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Unless there's another vector available to the virus to ensure its continuance, I think, in general, the answer is yes.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!


Offline Nizzle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 964
  • Extropian by choice!
    • View Profile
    • Carnivorous Plants
It depends on incubation time, infectiousness and lethality.

A virus or bacteria that kills the host after it had ample time to spread will have no disadvantage.

Look at Ebola/Marburg virus vs. HIV.

Ebola/Marburg infections are fast, short incubation time, high lethality. This virus is very rare.

HIV infections are slow, long incubation time, but also high (indirect) lethality. This virus is much more common.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Most poems rhyme,
but this one doesn't