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.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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.
- Conservation management
- Hygiene hypothesis
- Immune system