What is it about?
Bacteria and their viruses (phages) engage in coevolutionary arms races that drive the formation of complex interaction networks between them. To understand the mechanisms that shape these networks we comprehensively sampled coevolving populations of Escherichia coli and bacteriophage Lambda.
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Why is it important?
Our work revealed a new coevolutionary dynamic where an initial burst of genetic variants evolve and survive at low frequency for an unexpected long time. These hidden variants then rise in frequency and dominate the late stages of coevolution. This discovery revealed a new form of arms-race that is a hybrid of two previously described forms, it revealed the importance of cryptic genetic variation in driving host-parasite coevolution, and it provided an example of how coupling genomic and phenotypic information can reveal new evolutionary dynamics.
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This page is a summary of: Leapfrog dynamics in phage‐bacteria coevolution revealed by joint analysis of cross‐infection phenotypes and whole genome sequencing, Ecology Letters, January 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/ele.13965.
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