Geographic variation of Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility in the fly Drosophila recens

Sydney Keane, a Biology and Chemistry major from East Texas Baptist University, worked with Dr. Kelly Dyer examining the effects of infection on reproduction in Drosophila.

Abstract:  are bacterial parasites that commonly infect arthropods and nematodes. These parasites have damaging effects on the progeny of those they infect, including cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI occurs when an infected male and an uninfected female mate, resulting in fewer eggs that successfully hatch into larvae than normal. In this study, infected virgin males from Drosophila recens were collected from multiple strains across three locations, and coupled with uninfected virgin females from the same species. After allowing the females to lay eggs for 72 hours, I recorded the numbers of eggs that hatched and that did not hatch. Males were tested for Wolbachia infection using PCR. After analyzing the data, I found that the overall hatch rate in each location was low, the amount of CI in each location did not vary significantly, the amount of CI in the experimental group compared to the control was significantly high, and that the number of total eggs produced varied significantly between the locations. The overall percentage of CI found within all of the locations examined was approximately 72%. These results show that the presence of Wolbachia is similarly effecting various populations of the fly throughout North America and that the level of CI occurring within this species may cause a drastic decrease in the population size over time.


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