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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054373. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Coevolution of Drosophila melanogaster mtDNA and Wolbachia genotypes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Populations Genetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia.


Maternally inherited microorganisms can influence the mtDNA pattern of variation in hosts. This influence is driven by selection among symbionts and can cause the frequency of mitochondrial variants in the population to eventually increase or decrease. Wolbachia infection is common and widespread in Drosophila melanogaster populations. We compared genetic variability of D. melanogaster mitotypes with Wolbachia genotypes among isofemale lines associated with different geographic locations and time intervals to study coevolution of the mtDNA and Wolbachia. Phylogenetic analysis of D. melanogaster mtDNA revealed two clades diverged in Africa, each associated with one of the two Wolbachia genotype groups. No evidence of horizontal transmission of Wolbachia between maternal lineages has been found. All the mtDNA variants that occur in infected isofemale lines are found in uninfected isofemale lines and vice versa, which is indicative of a recent loss of infection from some maternal fly lineages and confirms a significant role of Wolbachia in the D. melanogaster mtDNA pattern of variation. Finally, we present a comparative analysis of biogeographic distribution of D. melanogaster mitotypes all over the world.

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