Social Interactions Among Bacteriophages

  • Pilar Domingo-Calap
  • Rafael Sanjuán


Although viruses lack many of the social adaptations shown by more complex organisms, different types of social interactions have been unraveled in viruses. Phage research has contributed significantly to the development of this field, called sociovirology, with the discovery of processes such as intracellular and extracellular public good production, prudent host exploitation, cheating, and inter-phage communication. We here review and discuss these processes from a social evolution approach. Similar to other organisms, the origin and maintenance of phage-phage interactions can be explained using kin selection, group selection and game theory approaches. Key determinants of phage social evolution include genetic relatedness, spatial population structure, and frequency-dependent selection, among others. Finally, we discuss possible applications of phage social interactions.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pilar Domingo-Calap
    • 1
  • Rafael Sanjuán
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Integrative Systems BiologyUniversitat de València-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasPaternaSpain

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