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Wolbachia and the Evolution of Reproductive Isolation between Drosophila recens and Drosophila subquinaria

D. DeWayne Shoemaker, Vaishali Katju and John Jaenike
Evolution
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Aug., 1999), pp. 1157-1164
DOI: 10.2307/2640819
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640819
Page Count: 8
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Wolbachia and the Evolution of Reproductive Isolation between Drosophila recens and Drosophila subquinaria
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Abstract

Endosymbiotic bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are widespread among insects and in many cases cause cytoplasmic incompatibility in crosses between infected males and uninfected females. Such findings have been used to argue that Wolbachia have played an important role in insect speciation. Theoretical models, however, indicate that Wolbachia alone are unlikely to lead to stable reproductive isolation between two formerly conspecific populations. Here we analyze the components of reproductive isolation between Drosophila recens, which is infected with Wolbachia, and its uninfected sister species Drosophila subquinaria. Laboratory pairings demonstrated that gene flow via matings between D. recens females and D. subquinaria males is hindered by behavioral isolation. Matings readily occurred in the reciprocal cross (D. quinaria females x D. recens males), but very few viable progeny were produced. The production of viable hybrids via this route was restored by antibiotic curing of D. recens of their Wolbachia symbionts, indicating that hybrid offspring production is greatly reduced by cytoplasmic incompatibility in the crosses involving infected D. recens males. Thus, behavioral isolation and Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility act as complementary asymmetrical isolating mechanisms between these two species. In accordance with Haldane's rule, hybrid females were fertile, whereas hybrid males invariably were sterile. Levels of mtDNA variation in D. recens are much lower than in either D. subquinaria or D. falleni, neither of which is infected with Wolbachia. The low haplotype diversity in D. recens is likely due to an mtDNA sweep associated with the spread of Wolbachia. Nevertheless, the existence of several mtDNA haplotypes in this species indicates that Wolbachia have been present as a potential isolating mechanism for a substantial period of evolutionary time. Finally, we argue that although Wolbachia by themselves are unlikely to bring about speciation, they can increase the rate of speciation in insects.

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