Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 12797990
Infect. Genet. Evol. 2002 Dec;2(2):137-43
Here we explore the adaptation of vesicular stomatitis RNA virus to different population densities and the existence of a trade-off between r- and K-selection. Increasing population density represents a challenging special situation for viruses, since different selective pressures arise depending upon the number of available host cells per virus. Adaptation to low density represents a prototypical case of r-selection, where the optimal evolutionary solution should be a high replication rate. Adaptation to high density represents a case of K-selection. In this case, genotypes optimally exploiting the resources, instead of faster replicating ones, should be selected. Five independent populations were maintained in two environments, called r and K, for 100 generations. In the r environment, effective population size was small. In contrast, the effective population size in the K environment was large. Our results support the existence of the expected trade-offs between these two types of selections. Viral populations evolved at low density performed worse as population density increased. Similarly, viral populations evolved at high density showed reduced fitness at low density. Finally, we compare our results with those obtained for other RNA viruses.