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Rapid evolution of parasitoids when faced with the symbiont-mediated resistance of their hosts

Abstract : Insects harbour a wild diversity of symbionts that can spread and persist within populations by providing benefits to their host. The pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum maintains a facultative symbiosis with the bacterium Hamiltonella defensa, which provides enhanced resistance against the aphid parasitoid Aphidius ervi. Although the mechanisms associated with this symbiotic-mediated protection have been investigated thoroughly, little is known about its evolutionary effects on parasitoid populations. We used an experimental evolution procedure in which parasitoids were exposed either to highly resistant aphids harbouring the symbiont or to low innate resistant hosts free of H. defensa. Parasitoids exposed to H. defensa gained virulence over time, reaching the same parasitism rate as those exposed to low aphid innate resistance only. A fitness reduction was associated with this adaptation as the size of parasitoids exposed to H. defensa decreased through generations. This study highlighted the considerable role of symbionts in host-parasite co-evolutionary dynamics.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 7, 2012 - 3:31:14 PM
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E. Dion, Z. Zélé, Jean-Christophe Simon, Yannick Outreman. Rapid evolution of parasitoids when faced with the symbiont-mediated resistance of their hosts. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Wiley, 2011, 24 (4), pp.741-50. ⟨10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02207.x⟩. ⟨hal-00729294⟩



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