Evolution of Virulence
Although much of our work is directed toward understanding how viruses jump species boundaries, it is equally important to determine how a new virus will evolve after it has successfully emerged. Central to this is understanding the evolution of pathogen virulence. We are interested in using comparative methods to reveal evolution of virulence determinants through time and the selection pressures acting on these sites. In collaborations with researchers at CSIRO in Canberra we are studying the classic cases of two viruses used to control European rabbit populations in Australia – myxoma virus (MYXV) and rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV).