Feminization of genetic males by a symbiotic bacterium in a butterfly, Eurema hecabe (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)
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Wolbachia are symbiotic bacteria found in many arthropods and filarian nematodes. They often manipulate the reproduction of host arthropods. In the present study, female-biased sex-ratio distortion in the butterfly Euremahecabe was investigated. Breeding experiments showed that this distorted sex ratio is maternally inherited. When treated with tetracycline, adult females of the thelygenic line produced male progeny only. After PCR using Wolbachia-specific primers for the ftsZ gene a positive result was seen in the thelygenic females, but not in male progeny from tetracycline-treated females, or individuals from a Tokyo population with normal sex ratio and reproduction. Cytological observations showed that thelygenic females lack the sex chromatin body (W chromosome). The results strongly suggest that the sex-ratio distortion in E. hecabe is due to feminization of genetic males by Wolbachia.
KeywordsTetracycline Adult Female Symbiotic Bacterium Cytological Observation Filarian Nematode
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