Two Kinds of Parasite Life Cycle

The parasite life cycle may be either alternating or non-alternating (see 8). The alternating life cycle is commonly called a heteroecious life cycle, and it is a property of many rust fungi and aphid insects. The alternating life cycle is of considerable theoretical interest because (i) it demonstrates the necessity for group selection during evolution, (ii) it provides an extraordinary example of parallel, analogous evolution in many different categories of parasite, and (iii) it indicates the importance of the discontinuous pathosystem in the functioning of the gene-for-gene relationship.

The non-alternating life cycle is less specialised, and it is the most common among crop parasites.

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