The phylogenetic range of bacterial and viral pathogens of vertebrates

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Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Many major human pathogens are multihost pathogens, able to infect other vertebrate species. Describing the general patterns of host–pathogen associations across pathogen taxa is therefore important to understand risk factors for human disease emergence. However, there is a lack of comprehensive curated databases for this purpose, with most previous efforts focusing on viruses. Here, we report the largest manually compiled host–pathogen association database, covering 2,595 bacteria and viruses infecting 2,656 vertebrate hosts. We also build a tree for host species using nine mitochondrial genes, giving a quantitative measure of the phylogenetic similarity of hosts. We find that the majority of bacteria and viruses are specialists infecting only a single host species, with bacteria having a significantly higher proportion of specialists compared to viruses. Conversely, multihost viruses have a more restricted host range than multihost bacteria. We perform multiple analyses of factors associated with pathogen richness per host species and the pathogen traits associated with greater host range and zoonotic potential. We show that factors previously identified as important for zoonotic potential in viruses—such as phylogenetic range, research effort, and being vector-borne—are also predictive in bacteria. We find that the fraction of pathogens shared between two hosts decreases with the phylogenetic distance between them. Our results suggest that host phylogenetic similarity is the primary factor for host-switching in pathogens. © 2020 The Authors. Molecular Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
This article is licensed under Creative Commons License and full text is openly accessible in CUD Digital Repository. The version of the scholarly record of this article is published in Molecular Ecology (2020), accessible online through this link
emerging infectious diseases, phylogenetics, zoonotic diseases, host jumps, host range
Shaw, L. P., Wang, A. D., Dylus, D., Meier, M., Pogacnik, G., Dessimoz, C., & Balloux, F. (2020). The phylogenetic range of bacterial and viral pathogens of vertebrates. Molecular Ecology, 29(17), 3361-3379.