, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 1-12
Date: 11 Aug 2010

A multilocus approach to assessing co-evolutionary relationships between Steinernema spp. (Nematoda: Steinernematidae) and their bacterial symbionts Xenorhabdus spp. (γ-Proteobacteria: Enterobacteriaceae)

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Nematodes of the genus Steinernema Travassos, 1927 (Nematoda: Steinernematidae) and their associated bacteria, Xenorhabdus spp. (γ-Proteobacteria), are an emergent model of terrestrial animal-microbe symbiosis. Interest in this association initially arose out of their potential as biocontrol agents against insect pests, but, despite advances in their field application and the growing popularity of this model system, relatively little has been published to uncover the evolutionary facets of this beneficial partnership. This study adds to the body of knowledge regarding nematode-bacteria symbiosis by proposing a possible scenario for their historical association in the form of a cophylogenetic hypothesis. Topological and likelihood based testing methods were employed to reconstruct a history of association between 30 host-symbiont pairs and to gauge the level of similarity between their inferred phylogenetic patterns.