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Genomics of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia present in Neotropical drosophilids assemblies

Grant number: 19/07021-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): August 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Rodrigo Cogni
Grantee:Marcos Aurélio Martins Oliveira da Silva
Supervisor abroad: Brandon S. Cooper
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Montana (UM), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:18/01295-8 - Quantitative description of a drosophilid community and its natural enemies in an Atlantic Forest altitudinal gradient, BP.MS


Selfish interests put maternally transmitted endosymbionts and host-nuclear genome into conflict. Wolbachia is an example of very successful endosymbiont present in 50% of all arthropods. One process that explain its high prevalence is their ability to manipulate host reproduction for its own favor through cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). However, even being prevalent in so many species and achieving high frequencies in many populations, it was shown that some successful strains infecting flies from the genus Drosophila maintain high frequencies regardless of CI, suggesting a mutualistic effect of the Wolbachia. Mutualistics have been reported and involves nutritional complementation and protection against RNA virus under laboratory conditions. Intringly, a considerable Wolbachia frequency variation in natural host populations occurs along altitudinal gradients and seasonal change. My aim is to explore the current question on Wolbachia spread in nature by changing the scale of the question to the community level and describe the prevalence of Wolbachia in assemblies of drosophilid species from the Atlantic Forest. Specifically, I will characterize the Wolbachia presence, frequency and phenotypes by looking to drosophilids assemblies present in two different altitudes and in two seasons. The change in scale from species populations to assemblies to describe patterns in ecology is fundamental to highlight processes acting in the system. (AU)