Previous studies of phylogenetic congruence between aphids and their symbiotic bacteria (Buchnera) supported long-term vertical transmission of symbionts. However, those studies were based on distantly related aphids and would not have revealed horizontal transfer of symbionts among closely related hosts. Aphid species of the genus Uroleucon are closely related phylogenetically and overlap in geographic ranges, habitats, and parasitoids. To examine support for congruence of phylogenies of Buchnera and Uroleucon, sequences from four mitochondrial, one nuclear, and one endosymbiont gene (trpB) were obtained. Congruence of phylogenies based on pooled aphid genes with phylogenies based on trpB was highly significant: Most nodes resolved by trpB corresponded to nodes resolved by the pooled aphid genes. Furthermore, no nodes were both inconsistent between the trees and strongly supported in both trees. Two kinds of analyses testing the null hypothesis of perfect congruence between pairwise combinations of datasets and tree topologies were performed: the Kishino-Hasegawa test and the likelihood-ratio test. Both tests indicated significant disagreement among most pairwise combinations of mitochondrial, nuclear, and symbiont datasets. Because rampant recombination among mitochondrial genomes of different aphid species is unlikely, inaccurate assumptions in the evolutionary models underlying these tests appear to be causing the hypothesis of a shared history to be incorrectly rejected. Moreover, trpB was more consistent with the aphid genes as a set than any single aphid gene was with the others, suggesting that the symbionts show the same phylogeny as the aphids. Overall, analyses support the interpretation that symbionts and aphids have undergone strict cospeciation, with no horizontal transmission of symbionts even among closely related, ecologically similar aphid hosts.
Corresponding Editor: E. Martins