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This volume explores the evolution of infectious agents that are sexually-transmitted or transmissible in humans and animals. This subject has received little attention until recently, in spite of historical records of sexually transmitted diseases over many centuries before Darwin's second opus emphasizing the importance of sex in reproductive fitness.
A growing number of agents are being identified that assume the sexual route of transmission. This volume explores the increased appreciation of evolutionary interactions with development (evo-devo), the possible epigenetic mechanisms involved in both, and the recognition of the importance of evolution in human and veterinary medicine and public health.
Also discussed are the rapid advances in technological methodologies that can provide important detailed molecular characterization of sexually-associated viruses, bacteria, yeasts, protozoa, and ectoparasites. These are helping to date the likely zoonotic and co-evolutionary origins of the human- or animal-related agents and their initial, or later, radiation to the host's genital econiche. The rapid replication of these agents results in many acute and often chronic diseases - although, as in the case of the gamete-transmitted endogenous retroviral genes, some may prove to have evo-devo benefits.
This volume takes an interdisciplinary approach to the exchange of newer evolutionary perspectives and technological advances to expand the understanding of the commonality and diversity of these animal and human infectious agents.