The hologenomic basis of speciation: Gut bacteria cause hybrid lethality in the genus Nasonia

Robert M. Brucker, Seth R. Bordenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the gut microbiome influences numerous aspects of organismal fitness, its role in animal evolution and the origin of new species is largely unknown. Here we present evidence that beneficial bacterial communities in the guts of closely related species of the genus Nasonia form species-specific phylosymbiotic assemblages that cause lethality in interspecific hybrids. Bacterial constituents and abundance are irregular in hybrids relative to parental controls, and antibiotic curing of the gut bacteria significantly rescues hybrid survival. Moreover, feeding bacteria to germ-free hybrids reinstates lethality and recapitulates the expression of innate immune genes observed in conventionally reared hybrids. We conclude that in this animal complex, the gut microbiome and host genome represent a coadapted "hologenome" that breaks down during hybridization, promoting hybrid lethality and assisting speciation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-669
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume341
Issue number6146
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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