Infecting epidemiology with genetics: a new frontier in disease ecology

Elizabeth A. Archie, Gordon Luikart, Vanessa O. Ezenwa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Disease ecologists strive to understand the causes and consequences of parasite infection, including the emergence, spread, persistence and evolution of infectious disease. These processes can be illuminated by parasite genetic markers, which can be used to track parasite spread and infer population history. Recently, a growing number of studies have used molecular tools to examine questions on the ecology of infectious diseases. We review this burgeoning area of research by focusing on three topics where genetic tools will increasingly make major contributions: inferring parasite transmission, reconstructing epidemiological history and identifying physical and environmental drivers of disease spread. We also discuss areas for future research and highlight the promise of multidisciplinary collaborations among geneticists, ecologists and epidemiologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

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