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Pathogenic microorganisms and the host 

Pathogenic microorganisms and the host
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date: 02 March 2021

Microorganisms are present at most imaginable sites on the planet, and have evolved to occupy these ecological niches successfully. A host animal is simply another ecological niche to be occupied. This chapter describes how the ability to cause disease may in some cases be an accidental bystander event, or it may be the result of evolutionary processes that have led to specific mechanisms allowing the pathogen to exploit the rich source of nutrients present in the host, and then be transmitted to another fresh host. Pathogenicity often relies on a series of steps, with specific and often distinct mechanisms operating at each of them. Some types of pathogen must adapt to the host environment by altering gene expression, and most must retain the ability to be transmitted readily between hosts.

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