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Heredity (Edinb). 1996 Jan;76 ( Pt 1):1-8.

Naturally-occurring Wolbachia infection in Drosophila simulans that does not cause cytoplasmic incompatibility.

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School of Genetics and Human Variation, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.


Microbes of the genus Wolbachia are transmitted by their hosts via the maternal parent and are responsible for cytoplasmic incompatibility among insect populations. This phenomenon can result in Wolbachia spreading through natural populations as previously demonstrated in Drosophila simulans. Here we describe another Wolbachia infection in D. simulans that does not cause cytoplasmic incompatibility. This is a property of the Wolbachia rather than the nuclear background. The infection occurs at a low frequency in natural populations from eastern Australia. The infection shows perfect maternal transmission in the field and does not cause any detectable deleterious effects on its host. These findings suggest that the Wolbachia infection behaves like a neutral variant in populations. The infection may represent an evolutionary outcome of interactions between Wolbachia infections and their hosts.

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