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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jun;73(11):3470-9. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Geographical distribution and diversity of bacteria associated with natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7223, USA.


Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most widely used model systems in biology. However, little is known about its associated bacterial community. As a first step towards understanding these communities, we compared bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequence libraries recovered from 11 natural populations of adult D. melanogaster. Bacteria from these sequence libraries were grouped into 74 distinct taxa, spanning the phyla Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes, which were unevenly spread across host populations. Summed across populations, the distribution of abundance of genera was closely fit by a power law. We observed differences among host population locations both in bacterial community richness and in composition. Despite this significant spatial variation, no relationship was observed between species richness and a variety of abiotic factors, such as temperature and latitude. Overall, bacterial communities associated with adult D. melanogaster hosts are diverse and differ across host populations.

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