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Could bacterial hitchhikers influence formation of new host species?
Date:5/5/2011

hey do not.

Bordenstein and his team are looking for evidence to support the second contention by studying the characteristics of the microbiomes of several closely related species of Nasonia and the hybrids produced when they mate. By analyzing the genomes and microbial communities of this wasp species, which recently underwent the process of speciation, graduate student Robert Brucker and his colleagues in the Bordenstein lab are attempting to identify specific microbes that increase the rate of mortality in the hybrid offspring.

Specifically, the team will identify the host bacteria that colonize the different hybrids; assess the hybrids' ability to regulate their own immune systems and defend against certain pathogens; and determine whether any increased lethality is due to decreases in the numbers of beneficial bacteria or to increases in the numbers of pathogenic bacteria.

Eventually, Bordenstein and his team hope that these observations will provide new insights into the role that host bacteria play in this vital evolutionary process.


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Contact: David F Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert  

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