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Curr Microbiol. 2005 Feb;50(2):84-7. Epub 2005 Jan 18.

Cospeciation between the primary endosymbionts of mealybugs and their hosts.

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Microbiology Section, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Mealybugs have an association with prokaryotic endosymbionts that are located in specialized cells called bacteriocytes. In order to compare the phylogeny of the host with that of the previously published phylogeny of the endosymbionts, 3.1 to 3.2 kilobase DNA fragments containing mitochondrial cytB (part), nd1,16S ribosomal DNA(rDNA), and 12S rDNA (part) were amplified and sequenced. A phylogenetic analysis of the data and a comparison with the trees obtained from endosymbiont genes and host 18S and 28S rDNA indicated that all the trees were similar. This result is consistent with an infection of a mealybug ancestor with a precursor of the endosymbiont followed by the vertical transmission of the endosymbiont to progeny. Comparison of the guanine + cytosine (G + C) contents of the mealybug mitochondrial genes with the same genes from other members of Sternorrhyncha and Arthropoda indicated that the mealybug genes had unusually low G + C contents in their DNAs (10.2 to 11.1 mol%).

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