At times, it is actually possible to watch the effects of natural selection in host-parasite relationships.For example, Australia during the 1940 s was overrun by hundreds of millions of European rabbits. The rabbits destroyed huge expanses of Australia and threatened the sheep and cattle industries. In 1950, myxoma virus, a parasite that affects rabbits, was deliberately introduced into Australia to control the rabbit population. Spread rapidly by mosquitoes, the virus devastated the rabbit population. The virus was less deadly to the offspring of surviving rabbits, however, and it caused less and less harm over the years. Apparently, genotypes (the genetic make-up of an organism) in the rabbit population were selected that were better able to resist the parasite. Meanwhile, the deadliest strains of the virus perished with their hosts as natural selection favored strains that could infect hosts but not kill them. Thus, natural selection stabilized this host-parasite relationship.