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Sexually Transmitted Disease and Parasite-Mediated Sexual Selection

Robert J. Knell
Evolution
Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jun., 1999), pp. 957-961
DOI: 10.2307/2640735
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640735
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Sexually Transmitted Disease and Parasite-Mediated Sexual Selection
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Abstract

Few studies have investigated the consequences of parasite-mediated sexual selection on the parasites involved. In some cases parasite-mediated sexual selection could lead to increased virulence, but I develop a simple model that shows that, if a parasite is sexually transmitted (i.e., is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD) and if mating success of the host is adversely affected by the parasite, then less virulent STDs will be selected for because transmission of the STD depends on the mating success of the host. This selection for reduced virulence could have important consequences for the role of STDs in sexual selection.

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