Wolbachia bacteria are being introduced into natural populations of vector mosquitoes, with the goal of reducing the transmission of human diseases such as Zika and dengue fever. The successful establishment of Wolbachia infection is largely dependent on the effects of Wolbachia infection to host fitness, but the effects of Wolbachia infection on the individual life-history traits of immature mosquitoes can vary. Here, the effects of life-shortening Wolbachia (wMelPop) on population growth of infected individuals were evaluated by measuring larval survival, developmental time and adult size of Aedes aegypti in intra- (infected or uninfected only) and inter-group (mixed with infected and uninfected) larval competition assays. At low larval density conditions, the population growth of wMelPop infected and uninfected individuals was similar. At high larval densities, wMelPop infected individuals had a significantly reduced population growth rate relative to uninfected individuals, regardless of competition type. We discuss the results in relation to the invasion of the wMelPop Wolbachia infection into naturally uninfected populations.
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This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health [AI-067434] and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [#44190].
The information reported in this paper (No. 17-08-009) is part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director.
Suh, Eunho; Mercer, David R.; and Dobson, Stephen L., "Life-Shortening Wolbachia Infection Reduces Population Growth of Aedes aegypti" (2017). Entomology Faculty Publications. 179.