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The fourteen papers in this excellent book were presented at an international symposium organized by the Linnean Society of London and the British Society for Parasitology, held at Keele University 12–13 July 1984. The papers examine various aspects of host genetics, parasite genetics, population genetics, theoretical ecology and experimental and field epidemiology. Hostparasite systems range from bacteria and phage to humans and helminth infections.
The papers are generally very well written, with clearly stated hypotheses and a minimum of jargon. Some of parasitologists' dearest assumptions are examined: that host susceptibility to infection may be a genetically determined, qualitative response (i.e., susceptible or resistant); that parasites may act as agents of selection upon their hosts; that parasites evolve to become commensals. Articles that are directly applicable to the epidemiology of human pathogens are by Rollinson and Southgate on genetic variability of schistosome and snail populations; by Tait on protein variation in parasitic protozoa; by Luzzatto, Usanga and Modiano on genetic resistance of humans to Plasmodium falciparum; and by Anderson and Crombie on age-intensity and age-prevalence profiles of Schistosoma mansoni infections in snails and mice.