Phylogeography of Nasonia vitripennis (Hymenoptera) indicates a mitochondrial-Wolbachia sweep in North America

R. Raychoudhury, B. K. Grillenberger, Juergen Gadau, R. Bijlsma, L. Van De Zande, J. H. Werren, L. W. Beukeboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Here we report evidence of a mitochondrial-Wolbachia sweep in North American populations of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, a cosmopolitan species and emerging model organism for evolutionary and genetic studies. Analysis of the genetic variation of 89 N. vitripennis specimens from Europe and North America was performed using four types of genetic markers: a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene, nine polymorphic nuclear microsatellites, sequences from 11 single-copy nuclear markers and six Wolbachia genes. The results show that the European populations have a sevenfold higher mitochondrial sequence variation than North American populations, but similar levels of microsatellite and nuclear gene sequence variation. Variation in the North American mitochondria is extremely low (φ 0.31%), despite a highly elevated mutation rate (∼ 35-40 times higher than the nuclear genes) in the mitochondria of Nasonia. The data are indicative of a mitochondrial sweep in the North American population, possibly due to Wolbachia infections that are maternally co-inherited with the mitochondria. Owing to similar levels of nuclear variation, the data could not resolve whether N. vitripennis originated in the New or the Old World.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Biogeography
  • Bottleneck
  • Microsatellites
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Selective sweep
  • Wolbachia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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