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Life History Effects Linked to an Advantage for wAu Wolbachia in Drosophila

by Li-Jun Cao 1,2,*, Weibin Jiang 1,3 and Ary A. Hoffmann 1,*
Pest and Adaptation Research Group, School of BioSciences, Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Beijing 100097, China
College of Life & Environmental Science, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(5), 126;
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 2 May 2019
Wolbachia endosymbiont infections can persist and spread in insect populations without causing apparent effects on reproduction of their insect hosts, but the mechanisms involved are largely unknown. Here, we test for fitness effects of the wAu infection of Drosophila simulans by comparing multiple infected and uninfected polymorphic isofemale lines derived from nature. We show a fitness advantage (higher offspring number) for lines with the wAu Wolbachia infection when breeding on grapes, but only where there was Talaromyces and Penicillium fungal mycelial growth. When breeding on laboratory medium, the wAu infection extended the development time and resulted in larger females with higher fecundity, life history traits, which may increase fitness. A chemical associated with the fungi (ochratoxin A) did not specifically alter the fitness of wAu-infected larvae, which developed slower and emerged with a greater weight regardless of toxin levels. These findings suggest that the fitness benefits of Wolbachia in natural populations may reflect life history changes that are advantageous under particular circumstances, such as when breeding occurs in rotting fruit covered by abundant mycelial growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wolbachia; Drosophila; fitness advantage; endosymbionts Wolbachia; Drosophila; fitness advantage; endosymbionts
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Cao, L.-J.; Jiang, W.; Hoffmann, A.A. Life History Effects Linked to an Advantage for wAu Wolbachia in Drosophila. Insects 2019, 10, 126.

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