Research Summary Example: Parallel Patterns of Increased Virulence in a Recently Emerged Wildlife Pathogen

4 pages
873 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Literature review
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What are the gaps in knowledge the study is addressing?

In the study, the authors highlight the tendency of the theoretical models to execute or predict the evolution of the higher virulence in the course of the emergence of the disease. Nonetheless, the researchers and practitioners have not been able to adapt and incorporate the empirical studies of the short-term virulence evolution concerning the emergence of the pathogen. Based on this, the article sought to explore and examine the patterns concerning the short-term virulence evolution under the influence of the archived isolates with reference to the isolates of the bacterium, Mycoplasma gallisepticum. From this perspective, the objective of the article is to offer a unique empirical insight into the dynamics of the short-term virulence evolution. These dynamics are likely to occur in different pathogens emergence among the humans and wildlife. The study seeks to bridge the gap concerning lack of empirical evidence to aid the role of the theoretical models predicting higher virulence evolution in the course of the disease emergence.

What is the main hypothesis tested in the study? What would the null hypothesis be?

In this study, the authors sought to test the hypothesis on the influence of indirect selection for the increased transmission in increasing evolutionary in the virulence in the geographic locations with reference to North American house finch and Pacific Coast. Based on this, the null hypothesis would be that indirect selection for the increased transmission does not drive the virulence evolution across the two aforementioned geographical areas or locations.

How the study was conducted (methods)

In the course of falsifying this hypothesis, the study sought to explore the patterns of virulence evolution in short-term through utilization of the archived isolates of the bacterium mentioned above, Mycoplasma gallisepticum. The experiment sought to collect the bacterium during the subsequent emergence events while integrating two geographically distinct populations of the host with reference to the North American and the Pacific Coast. This experimental design for the research was critical in enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in addressing the hypothesis. In addressing this, the article offers elaborative methodological aspects in addressing the research question, objectives, and scope of the study. This might form one of the strengths of the study in accordance with the formalized research article. The methodology did also integrate statistical analysis by the authors in the generation of the findings substantiating the theoretical hypothesis as evident in the above discussion. From this illustration, it is essential to note that the authors play a vital role in enhancing the understanding of the target audiences on the clear approach to execute the study. The approach improves validity and reliability of the findings following the research questions, scope, and objectives of the study.

What were the main results?

Traditionally, researchers have been able to suggest that virulence or harm discussed in the study proves to be an inevitable by-product concerning the replication of the pathogen essential in the optimization of the chance of the pathogen undergoing transmission to another host. In this article, the authors have the ability and platform to demonstrate the tendency of the emerged bacterial pathogen regarding the North American songbird species to undergo gradual development into becoming more virulent across the emergence events in the two regions. From this illustration, the higher virulence comes out as a result of the selection for the higher rates regarding the replication of the pathogen (Harley et al. 2013). This is because of the tendency of the highly virulent bacterial isolates to attain highest loads within the tissues of the infected hosts. Categorically, the findings of the article show that the emerging pathogens have the ability and potentiality to evolve into becoming more virulent in the different hosts, especially in the short-term. This must relate to the subsequent increase in the ability of the pathogen to replicate itself as linked to the higher instances of this harm or virulence.

What are the broader implications of the study (i.e., how does the study contribute to the field)?

The findings of the article tend to have substantive implications on different elements. In the first instance, the findings of the study have relevance or implication on an understanding of the severity of the diseases emanating from the emerging pathogens among human beings, domestic animals, and the wildlife. On the other hand, understanding of the severity of the diseases in these entities contributes to the improved potentiality of the practitioners to engage in the prediction of the occurrence of such diseases. Evidently, the findings of the study are ideal for the prevention of the virulence among human beings, domestic animals, and wildlife, thus, the platform for the improvement of the health outcomes.

Can you think of any limitations in the study?

The study provides a quality presentation platform, which enhances understanding of the concepts, findings, and relevance to the healthcare outcomes in adherence to the ethical standards in the collection and analysis of the data. Nonetheless, I think that the population might not be representative enough to enable researchers to make generalizations about the identified hypothesis.



Harley, D., Osnas, E., Dobson, A. Hochachka, W., Ley, D. & Dhondt, A. (2013). Parallel Patterns of Increased Virulence in a Recently Emerged Wildlife Pathogen. PLoS Biol. 11(5): e1001570.


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