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J Invertebr Pathol. 2004 Sep;87(1):45-50.

Wolbachia effects in Drosophila melanogaster: in search of fitness benefits.

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Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Insect endosymbionts often influence host nutrition but these effects have not been comprehensively investigated in Wolbachia endosymbionts that are widespread in insects. Using strains of Drosophila melanogaster with the wMel Wolbachia infection, we showed that Wolbachia did not influence adult starvation resistance. Wolbachia also had no effect on larval development time or the size of emerging adults from a low nutrition medium. While Wolbachia may influence the expression of heat shock proteins, we found that there was no effect on adult heat resistance when tested in terms of survival or virility following heat stress. The absence of nutrition or stress effects suggests that other processes maintain wMel frequencies in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

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