Trends Parasitol. 2013 Feb 14. pii: S1471-4922(13)00017-2. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2013.01.004. [Epub ahead of print]
Adaptive host manipulation by Toxoplasma gondii: fact or fiction?
Worth AR, Lymbery AJ, Thompson RC.
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch 6150, Australia. Electronic address: A.Worth@murdoch.edu.au.
It is widely accepted that behavioural changes induced by Toxoplasma gondii are an adaptation of the parasite to enhance transmission to its cat definitive host. In our opinion, this explanation requires a rethink. We argue that the experimental evidence that observed behavioural changes will enhance transmission to cats is not convincing. We also argue that cats and sexual reproduction may not be essential for transmission and maintenance of this parasite. Thus, the selection pressure to infect a cat may not be sufficiently strong for the evolution of adaptive host manipulation to have occurred in order to enhance predation by cats.
PMID: 23415732 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]