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Title: A continental-scale survey of Wolbachia infections in blue butterflies reveals evidence of interspecific transfer and invasion dynamics
Abstract

Infections by maternally inherited bacterial endosymbionts, especially Wolbachia, are common in insects and other invertebrates but infection dynamics across species ranges are largely under studied. Specifically, we lack a broad understanding of the origin of Wolbachia infections in novel hosts, and the historical and geographical dynamics of infections that are critical for identifying the factors governing their spread. We used Genotype-by-Sequencing data from previous population genomics studies for range-wide surveys of Wolbachia presence and genetic diversity in North American butterflies of the genus Lycaeides. As few as one sequence read identified by assembly to a Wolbachia reference genome provided high accuracy in detecting infections in host butterflies as determined by confirmatory PCR tests, and maximum accuracy was achieved with a threshold of only 5 sequence reads per host individual. Using this threshold, we detected Wolbachia in all but 2 of the 107 sampling localities spanning the continent, with infection frequencies within populations ranging from 0% to 100% of individuals, but with most localities having high infection frequencies (mean = 91% infection rate). Three major lineages of Wolbachia were identified as separate strains that appear to represent 3 separate invasions of Lycaeides butterflies by Wolbachia. Overall, we found extensive evidence for acquisition more » of Wolbachia through interspecific transfer between host lineages. Strain wLycC was confined to a single butterfly taxon, hybrid lineages derived from it, and closely adjacent populations in other taxa. While the other 2 strains were detected throughout the rest of the continent, strain wLycB almost always co-occurred with wLycA. Our demographic modeling suggests wLycB is a recent invasion. Within strain wLycA, the 2 most frequent haplotypes are confined almost exclusively to separate butterfly taxa with haplotype A1 observed largely in Lycaeides melissa and haplotype A2 observed most often in Lycaeides idas localities, consistent with either cladogenic mode of infection acquisition from a common ancestor or by hybridization and accompanying mutation. More than 1 major Wolbachia strain was observed in 15 localities. These results demonstrate the utility of using resequencing data from hosts to quantify Wolbachia genetic variation and infection frequency and provide evidence of multiple colonizations of novel hosts through hybridization between butterfly lineages and complex dynamics between Wolbachia strains.

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Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10372721
Journal Name:
G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics
Volume:
12
Issue:
10
ISSN:
2160-1836
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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