For Host's Sake: The Pluses of Parasite Preservation

Hamish G. Spencer, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Conservation biologists now realize that parasites of endangered hosts should be conserved for their own sake and as part of their host's natural environment. But parasites should also be conserved because parasitic exposure might be crucial to the host's development of a fully functional immune system and hence to the survival of the host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-343
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank three anonymous reviewers, whose comments helped us clarify our arguments. H.G.S. was supported by the Allan Wilson Centre and Gravida. M.Z.’s research is supported by grants from the US National Science Foundation . We first conceived the ideas outlined above at the 2009 Berlin Charité Workshops on Evolution and Diseases of Civilization.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Conservation management
  • Disease
  • Hygiene hypothesis
  • Immune system


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