Speciation depends on the establishment of reproductive isolation between populations of the same species. Whether assortative mating evolves as a by-product of adaptation is a major question relevant to the origin of species by reproductive isolation. The long-term selection populations used here were originally established 30 years ago from a single cage population (originating from a maternal one) and subsequently subjected to divergent selection for tolerance of toxins in food (heavy metals versus ethanol) to investigate this question. Those populations now differ in sexual isolation and Wolbachia infection status. Wolbachia are common and widespread bacteria infecting arthropods and nematodes. Attention has recently focused on their potential role in insect speciation, due to post-mating sperm-egg incompatibilities induced by the bacteria. In this paper we examine the potential effect of Wolbachia on the level of sexual isolation. By antibiotic curing, we show that removal of Wolbachia decreases levels of mate discrimination (sexual isolation index) between populations by about 50%. Backcrossing experiments confirm that this effect is due to infection status rather than to genetic changes in the populations resulting from antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic treatment has no effect on mate discrimination level between uninfected populations. Our findings suggest that the presence of Wolbachia (or another undetected bacterial associate) act as an additive factor contributing to the level of pre-mating isolation between these Drosophila melanogaster populations. Given the ubiquity of bacterial associates of insects, such effects could be relevant to some speciation events.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 60 • No. 1