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The Evolution of Infectious Agents in Relation to Sex

Edited by Edited by André Nahmias and Susa Beckman Nahmias (Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and Immunology Division, Department of Pediatrics and School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia) and Dan Danielsson (Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden
The Evolution of Infectious Agents in Relation to Sex

Published: August 2011

Volume 1230

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A growing number of agents are being identified that assume the sexual route of transmission. Helping to date the likely zoonotic and/or co-evolutionary origin of the human- or animal-related agents and their initial, or later, radiation to the host’s genital econiche are: (1) the increased appreciation of the evolutionary interactions with development (EVO-DEVO), the possible epigenetic mechanisms involved in both, and the recognition of the importance of evolution in human and veterinary medicine and public health; and (2) the rapid advances in technological methodologies that can provide important detailed molecular characterization of the sexually-associated viruses, bacteria, yeasts, protozoa, and ectoparasites. The rapid replication of these agents results in many acute and often chronic diseases--although, as in the case of the gamete-transmitted endogenous retroviral genes, some may prove to have EVO-DEVO benefits. The following international-interdisciplinary exchange of newer evolutionary perspectives and technological advances is particularly timely towards a much-needed expansion of our knowledge of the commonality and diversity of these animal and human infectious agents.