Phylogenetic determinants of ability to infect novel host

Figure 4

By carrying out a cross-infection experiment with 51 species of Drosophilidae and three sigma viruses (Figure 4) we found that the host phylogeny could explain most of the variation in viral replication and persistence between different host species. This effect is partly driven by viruses reaching a higher titre in those novel hosts most closely related to the original host, suggesting viruses may more readily switch between closely related species. However, there is also a strong effect of host phylogeny that is independent of the effect of distance from the original host, with viral titres being similar in groups of related hosts.  We also found some groups of related species that are very susceptible but are distantly related to the natural hosts, which may explain why viruses sometimes jump between distantly related species. Read the paper on this work here.



Changes in virulence following host shifts