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Microsatellite and Wolbachia analysis in Rhagoletis cerasi natural populations: population structuring and multiple infections


Ecology and Evolution 4(10):19431962

doi: 10.1002/ece3.553


​free pdf

Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae) is a major pest of sweet and sour cherries in Europe and parts of Asia. Despite its economic significance, there is a lack of studies on the genetic structure of R. cerasi populations. Elucidating the genetic structure of insects of economic importance is crucial for developing phenological-predictive models and environmental friendly control methods. All natural populations of R. cerasi have been found to harbor the endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis, which widely affects multiple biological traits contributing to the evolution of its hosts, and has been suggested as a tool for the biological control of insect pests and disease vectors. In the current study, the analysis of 18 R. cerasi populations collected in Greece, Germany, and Russia using 13 microsatellite markers revealed structuring of R. cerasi natural populations, even at close geographic range. We also analyzed the Wolbachia infection status of these populations using 16S rRNA-, MLST- and wsp-based approaches. All 244 individuals screened were positive for Wolbachia. Our results suggest the fixation of the wCer1 strain in Greece while wCer2, wCer4, wCer5, and probably other uncharacterized strains were also detected in multiply infected individuals. The role of Wolbachia and its potential extended phenotypes needs a thorough investigation in R. cerasi. Our data suggest an involvement of this symbiont in the observed restriction in the gene flow in addition to a number of different ecological factors.


Augustinos  ​Antonios A., Asimakopoulou  Anastasia K., MoraitiCleopatra A., Mavragani-Tsipidou Penelope , Papadopoulos Nikolaos T. and Bourtzis  Kostas


  • Insect symbiosis;
  • microsatellites;
  • Rhagoletis cerasi ;
  • Tephritidae;
  • Wolbachia

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Augustinos et al_2014_Ecology and Evolution.pdf    
Created at 30/06/2014 17:24 by Abdeljelil Bakri
Last modified at 30/06/2014 17:27 by Abdeljelil Bakri