Mitochondrial DNA variants help monitor the dynamics of Wolbachia invasion into host populations

Heng Lin YeapAry A Hoffmann


Wolbachia is the most widespread endosymbiotic bacterium of insects and other arthropods that can rapidly invade host populations. Deliberate releases of Wolbachia into natural populations of the dengue fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, are used as a novel biocontrol strategy for dengue suppression. Invasion of Wolbachia through the host population relies on factors such as high fidelity of the endosymbiont transmission and limited immigration of uninfected individuals, but these factors can be difficult to measure. One way of acquiring relevant information is to consider mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation alongside Wolbachia in field-caught mosquitoes. Here we used diagnostic mtDNA markers to differentiate infection-associated mtDNA haplotypes from those of the uninfected mosquitoes at release sites. Unique haplotypes associated with Wolbachia were found at locations outside Australia. We also performed mathematical and qualitative analyses including modelling the expected dynamics of the Wolbachia and mtDNA variants during and after a release. Our analyses identified key features in haplotype frequency patterns to infer the presence of imperfect maternal transmission of Wolbachia, presence of immigration and possibly incomplete...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Dengue Fever
Biological Markers
DNA, Mitochondrial
Genetics, Population
Heredity Aspects
Insect Vectors