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- David V. McLeod
- Sylvain Gandon
The evolution of multidrug resistance (MDR) is a pressing public health concern. Yet many aspects, such as the role played by population structure, remain poorly understood. Here we argue that studying MDR evolution by focusing upon the dynamical equations for linkage disequilibrium (LD) can greatly simplify the calculations, generate more insight, and provide a unified framework for understanding the role of population structure. We demonstrate how a general epidemiological model of MDR evolution can be recast in terms of the LD equations. These equations reveal how the different forces generating and propagating LD operate in a dynamical setting at both the population and metapopulation levels. We then apply these insights to show how the LD perspective: (i) explains equilibrium patterns of MDR, (ii) provides a simple interpretative framework for transient evolutionary dynamics, and (iii) can be used to assess the consequences of different drug prescription strategies for MDR evolution.