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Insect Mol Biol. 2016 Dec;25(6):701-711. doi: 10.1111/imb.12255. Epub 2016 Jul 20.

Selective sweep of Wolbachia and parthenogenetic host genomes - the example of the weevil Eusomus ovulum.

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Center for Biodiversity Studies, Department of Biosystematics, Opole University, Opole, Poland.
Department of Zoology, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland.


Most parthenogenetic weevil species are postulated to have originated via hybridization, but Wolbachia has also been speculated to play a role via the induction of parthenogenesis. Here, we examine the molecular diversity of Wolbachia and parthenogenetic host genomes. The host species studied here, Eusomus ovulum, is known to be exclusively parthenogenetic and triploid. The E. ovulum populations that we examined had a low genetic diversity of mitochondrial (cytochrome oxidase I gene) and nuclear markers (internal transcribed spacer 2 and elongation factor 1-α gene), and they all were infected by only single bacteria strains (genotyped for five genes according to the multilocus sequence typing system). We found significant signs of linkage disequilibrium and a lack of recombination amongst all of the examined genomes (bacteria and host), which strongly indicates a selective sweep. The lack of heterozygosity in host nuclear genes, missing bisexual populations and selective sweep between the parthenogenetic host and bacteria genomes suggest that parthenogenesis in this species could have originated as a result of infection rather than hybridization. However, the finding that highly similar Wolbachia strains are also present in other parthenogenetic weevils from the same habitat suggests the opposite scenario: bacteria may have infected the already parthenogenetic lineage and taken advantage of the host's unisexual reproduction.


Coleoptera; Curculionidae; Eusomus ovulum; Rickettsiales; Wolbachia; endosymbiosis; parthenogenesis; selective sweep

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