Bacterial symbionts in insects or the story of communities affecting communities.

Abstract : Bacterial symbionts are widespread in insects and other animals. Most of them are predominantly vertically transmitted, along with their hosts' genes, and thus extend the heritable genetic variation present in one species. These passengers have a variety of repercussions on the host's phenotypes: besides the cost imposed on the host for maintaining the symbiont population, they can provide fitness advantages to the host or manipulate the host's reproduction. We argue that insect symbioses are ideal model systems for community genetics. First, bacterial symbionts directly or indirectly affect the interactions with other species within a community. Examples include their involvement in modifying the use of host plants by phytophagous insects, in providing resistance to natural enemies, but also in reducing the global genetic diversity or gene flow between populations within some species. Second, one emerging picture in insect symbioses is that many species are simultaneously infected with more than one symbiont, which permits studying the factors that shape bacterial communities; for example, horizontal transmission, interactions between host genotype, symbiont genotype and the environment and interactions among symbionts. One conclusion is that insects' symbiotic complements are dynamic communities that affect and are affected by the communities in which they are embedded.
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Julia Ferrari, Fabrice Vavre. Bacterial symbionts in insects or the story of communities affecting communities.. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2011, 366 (1569), pp.1389-400. ⟨10.1098/rstb.2010.0226⟩. ⟨hal-00784710⟩



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