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The evolution of sex-specific virulence in infectious diseases [Nature Communications]

Keywords : evolutionary theory, pathogens

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Fatality rates of infectious diseases are often higher in men than women. Although this difference is often attributed to a stronger immune response in women, we show that differences in the transmission routes that the sexes provide can result in evolution favouring pathogens with sex-specific virulence. Because women can transmit pathogens during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding, pathogens adapt, evolving lower virulence in women. (...)

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