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Maternally inherited microbes that spread via male-killing are common pathogens of insects, yet very little is known about the evolutionary duration of these associations. The few examples to date indicate very recent, and thus potentially transient, infections. A male-killing strain of Wolbachia has recently been discovered in natural populations of(More)
Recent studies have shown that some plants and animals harbor microbial symbionts that protect them against natural enemies. Here we demonstrate that a maternally transmitted bacterium, Spiroplasma, protects Drosophila neotestacea against the sterilizing effects of a parasitic nematode, both in the laboratory and the field. This nematode parasitizes D.(More)
Reinforcement refers to the evolution of increased mating discrimination against heterospecific individuals in zones of geographic overlap and can be considered a final stage in the speciation process. One the factors that may affect reinforcement is the degree to which hybrid matings result in the permanent loss of genes from a species' gene pool. Matings(More)
Little is known about what determines patterns of host association of horizontally transmitted parasites over evolutionary timescales. We examine the evolution of associations between mushroom-feeding Drosophila flies (Diptera: Drosophilidae), particularly in the quinaria and testacea species groups, and their horizontally transmitted Howardula nematode(More)
A substantial fraction of insects and other terrestrial arthropods are infected with parasitic, maternally transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria that manipulate host reproduction. In addition to imposing direct selection on the host to resist these effects, endosymbionts may also have indirect effects on the evolution of the mtDNA with which they are(More)
Organisms and the symbionts they harbor may experience opposing forces of selection. In particular, the contrasting inheritance patterns of maternally transmitted symbionts and their host's nuclear genes can engender conflict among organizational levels over the optimal host offspring sex ratio. This study uses a male-killing Wolbachia endosymbiont and its(More)
Adaptation by natural selection proceeds most efficiently when alleles compete solely on the basis of their effects on the survival and reproduction of their carriers. A major condition for this is equal Mendelian segregation, but meiotic drive can short-circuit this process. The evolution of drive often involves multiple, interacting genetic components,(More)
Among major taxonomic groups, microsatellites exhibit considerable variation in composition and allele length, but they also show considerable conservation within many major groups. This variation may be explained by slow microsatellite evolution so that all species within a group have similar patterns of variation, or by taxon-specific mutational or(More)
The population-level dynamics of maternally transmitted endosymbionts, including reproductive parasites, depends primarily on the fitness effects and transmission fidelity of these infections. Although experimental laboratory studies have shown that within-host endosymbiont density can affect both of these factors, the existence of such effects in natural(More)