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Mechanisms Promoting the Long-Term Persistence of a Wolbachia Infection in a Laboratory-Adapted Population of Drosophila melanogaster
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology.
2011 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 6, no 1, e16448- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are widespread endosymbionts across diverse insect taxa. Despite this prevalence, our understanding of how Wolbachia persists within populations is not well understood. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) appears to be an important phenotype maintaining Wolbachia in many insects, but it is believed to be too weak to maintain Wolbachia in Drosophila melanogaster, suggesting that Wolbachia must also have other effects on this species. Here we estimate the net selective effect of Wolbachia on its host in a laboratory-adapted population of D. melanogaster, to determine the mechanisms leading to its persistence in the laboratory environment. We found i) no significant effects of Wolbachia infection on female egg-to-adult survival or adult fitness, ii) no reduced juvenile survival in males, iii) substantial levels of CI, and iv) a vertical transmission rate of Wolbachia higher than 99%. The fitness of cured females was, however, severely reduced (a decline of 37%) due to CI in offspring. Taken together these findings indicate that Wolbachia is maintained in our laboratory environment due to a combination of a nearly perfect transmission rate and substantial CI. Our results show that there would be strong selection against females losing their infection and producing progeny free from Wolbachia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 6, no 1, e16448- p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-157555DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016448ISI: 000286523400037OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-157555DiVA: diva2:436017
Available from: 2011-08-22 Created: 2011-08-22 Last updated: 2016-04-27Bibliographically approved

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