Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Persistence of a Wolbachia infection frequency cline in Drosophila melanogaster and the possible role of reproductive dormancy.

  • Author(s): Kriesner, Peter
  • Conner, William R
  • Weeks, Andrew R
  • Turelli, Michael
  • Hoffmann, Ary A
  • et al.

Published Web Location

Field populations of arthropods are often polymorphic for Wolbachia but the factors maintaining intermediate Wolbachia frequencies are generally not understood. In Drosophila melanogaster, Wolbachia frequencies are highly variable across the globe. We document the persistence of a Wolbachia infection frequency cline in D. melanogaster populations from eastern Australia across at least 20 years, with frequencies generally high in the tropics but lower in cool temperate regions. The results are interpreted using a model of frequency dynamics incorporating cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), imperfect maternal transmission and Wolbachia effects on fitness. Clinal variation is less pronounced in eastern North America which may reflect annual recolonization at higher latitudes. Limited samples from Africa from latitudes matching our tropical and subtropical samples from Australia and North America show comparably high infection frequencies, but some equatorial samples show lower frequencies. Adult dormancy across cold periods may contribute to the Australian Wolbachia cline. Infected flies exposed to cold conditions for an extended period had reduced fecundity and viability, an effect not evident in unexposed controls. These fitness costs may contribute to the relatively low Wolbachia frequencies in Australian temperate areas; whereas different processes, including CI induced by young males, may contribute to higher frequencies in tropical locations.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View