Cytoplasmically Inherited Reproductive Incompatibility in Tribolium Flour Beetles: The Rate of Spread and Effect on Population Size


This paper reports on the effects of a cytoplasmically inherited reproductive incompatibility in different genetic strains of the flour beetle, Tribolium confusum. We measured the rate of spread and the effect of host population size using different initial frequencies of infection with a cytoplasmic factor that mediates reproductive incompatibility. There were two experiments, in one the infected and uninfected lines were from the same genetic strain, b-Yugoslavia. In the other, the infected line was from the ``high cannibalism'' bIV strain and the uninfected line from the ``low cannibalism'' bI strain. We estimate that the fitness ratio of infected to uninfected in b-Yugoslavia is 0.63 and the observed rate of spread for this strain corresponds to a model of cytoplasmic inheritance that takes into account the productivity differences between the infected and cured lines. In the bI-bIV experiment, because the uninfected and infected lines are from different genetic strains, we cannot partition the effects of the cytoplasmic factor from other factors. The rate of spread in the bI-bIV experiment is faster in males and slower in females than predicted from a model of cytoplasmic inheritance. In both experiments, productivity varies with initial infection frequency; however, the relationship is not explained by a simple model that predicts lower population size at intermediate infection frequencies.

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