Fitness advantage and cytoplasmic incompatibility in Wolbachia single- and superinfected Aedes albopictus

S. L. Dobson, W. Rattanadechakul, E. J. Marsland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Wolbachia are obligate, maternally inherited, intracellular bacteria that infect numerous insects and other invertebrates. Wolbachia infections have evolved multiple mechanisms to manipulate host reproduction and facilitate invasion of naive host populations. One such mechanism is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that occurs in many insect species, including Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito). The multiple Wolbachia infections that occur naturally in A. albopictus make this mosquito a useful system in which to study CI. Here, experiments employ mosquito strains that have been introgressed to provide genetically similar strains that harbor differing Wolbachia infection types. Cytoplasmic incompatibility levels, host longevity, egg hatch rates, and fecundity are examined. Crossing results demonstrate a pattern of additive unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility. Furthermore, relative to uninfected females, infected females are at a reproductive advantage due to both cytoplasmic incompatibility and a fitness increase associated with Wolbachia infection. In contrast, no fitness difference was observed in comparisons of single- and superinfected females. We discuss the observed results in regard to the evolution of the Wolbachia/A. albopictus symbiosis and the observed pattern of Wolbachia infection in natural populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Charles Fox, Sylvain Charlat, and Claudia Rauter for their comments and suggestions on early versions of the manuscript. We also thank Helena Truszczynska for her aid with statistical analyses. This research was supported in part by the United States Department of Agriculture NRICGP grant #9902683 and grant AI051533 from the National Institutes of Health. This is publication 02-08-143 of the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Cytoplasmic drive
  • Cytoplasmic incompatibility
  • Mutualism
  • Population replacement
  • Reproductive parasite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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