Evolution of Trade-Offs and Genotype-by- Environment Interactions in Viruses

Genetic trade-offs occur when organisms evolve adaptive traits for one purpose while suffering reduced performance in an unselected trait. Our work shows that viruses often experience evolutionary trade-offs, under various types of selection pressures. We have observed that evolution of increased virus stability generally trades-off with viral reproduction, obeying a classic survival-reproduction life-history trade-off seen in higher organisms. Also, we have shown that viruses suffer evolutionary trade-offs across selective temperatures and across differing innate-immune profiles of hosts. Relatedly, our work examines how the environment selects for evolution of virus interactions with host organisms – especially mutualism vs. parasitism – and whether these strategies are evolutionarily reversible. These studies explore evolutionary constraints in viruses and suggest that viral adaptive solutions can sometimes be limited, suggesting vulnerabilities that might be exploited when designing antiviral therapies.


• Shapiro, J.W., and P.E. Turner. 2018. Evolution of mutualism from parasitism in experimental virus populations. Evolution (In press)

• Gloria-Soria, A., P.M. Armstrong, J.R. Powell, and P.E. Turner. 2017. Infection rate of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with dengue virus depends on the interaction between temperature and mosquito genotype. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences 284:20171506.

• Foxman, E., J.A. Storer, M.E. Fitzgerald, B.R. Wasik, L. Hou, H. Zhao, P.E. Turner, A.M. Pyle, and A. Iwasaki. 2015. Temperature-dependent innate defense against the common cold virus limits viral replication at warm temperature in mouse airway cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112(3):827-832. PMCID: PMC4311828.

• Shapiro, J.W. and P.E. Turner. 2014. The impact of transmission mode on the evolution of benefits provided by microbial symbionts. Ecology and Evolution 4(17):3350-3361. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1166. PMID: 25535552. PMCID: PMC4228610.

• Goldhill, D., and P.E. Turner. 2014. The evolution of life history trade-offs in viruses. Current Opinion in Virology 8:79-84. PMID: 25087040

• Dessau, M., D. Goldhill, R.C. McBride, P.E. Turner, and Y. Modis. 2012. Selective pressure causes an RNA virus to trade reproductive fitness for increased structural and thermal stability of a viral enzyme. PLoS Genetics 8(11):e1003102. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003102. PMCID: PMC3510033.