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A very nice post on a very interesting topic. I especially like the phrase "at the speed of evolution". In virology we seldom (if ever) think of viruses as making beneficial contributions to host biology, but virologists do recognize that there can be selective pressure on the virus to minimize its impact on host fitness, since incapacitation or death of the host is bad for the virus, too (if it prevents or reduces ability of the virus to spread to a new host). I wonder, then, whether selection on commensals to "out colonize" other, pathogenic bacteria, could also reflect selection to help maintain host viability (in addition to staking out "valuable nasal real estate"!).

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