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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jul 3;92(14):6389-93.

Evolution of single and double Wolbachia symbioses during speciation in the Drosophila simulans complex.

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Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité de Recherche Associée 327), Université de Montpellier II, France.


Maternally inherited bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are responsible for the early death of embryos in crosses between uninfected females and infected males in several insect species. This phenomenon, known as cytoplasmic incompatibility, also occurs between strains infected by different symbionts in some species, including Drosophila simulans. Wolbachia was found in two species closely related to D. simulans, Drosophila mauritiana, and Drosophila sechellia, and shown to cause incompatibility in the latter species but not in D. mauritiana. Comparison of bacterial and mtDNA history clarifies the origins of bacterial and incompatibility polymorphisms in D. simulans. Infection in D. mauritiana is probably the result of introgression of an infected D. simulans cytoplasm. Some D. simulans and D. sechellia cytoplasmic lineages harbor two bacteria as a consequence of a double infection which probably occurred in a common ancestor. The descendant symbionts in each species are associated with similar incompatibility relationships, which suggests that little variation of incompatibility types has occurred within maternal lineages beyond that related to the density of symbionts in their hosts.

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