Title: Testing for purged inbreeding depression in the invasive pest Drosophila suzukii
Internship supervisors: Arnaud Estoup (DR1), Laure Olazcuaga (PhD student), Nicolas Rode (Postdoc)
Lab: Centre de Biologie pour la Gestion des Populations, INRA, Montferrier sur Lez, France
Monthly allowance: ~550€/month
Inbreeding depression represents the reduced fitness of individuals originating from matings between related individuals compared to those originating from matings between unrelated individuals. Bottlenecks in population size can purge deleterious alleles responsible for inbreeding depression under certain demographic conditions and for a certain range of mutation effects (i.e. strongly deleterious and highly recessive alleles, Glémin 2003). Such purging has been demonstrated empirically in artificially bottlenecked populations (Crnokrak & Barrett 2002, Avila et al. 2010) and in several invasive species (Mullarkey et al. 2013, Fountain et al. 2014), including the ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Facon et al. 2011). Rather than posing a barrier to invasion, bottlenecks and inbreeding that follows introduction events can indeed enhance invasion ability by purging deleterious alleles (Estoup et al 2016). Under such circumstances, inbred individuals can have a fitness as high as non inbred ones (Facon et al. 2011). More studies using both phenotypic and genomic approaches are needed in order to assess whether purging is an important factor for successful invasions.
Drosophila suzukii is an insect species historically distributed in Southeast Asia (Asplen et al. 2015).This species is invasive in the USA and Europe since 2008 (Asplen et al. 2015). Unlike most drosophilid species (including its relative Drosophila melanogaster), D. suzukii females display a large serrated ovipositor (Atallah et al. 2014) allowing them to lay eggs in ripening fruits. As such, this pest poses a major threat to the agricultural production of stone fruits and berries (Lee et al. 2011). The invasion routes of D. suzukii have been recently
uncovered by researchers at CBGP (Fraimout et al. 2017). Building on these findings, this master project aims at gaining further insights into the evolutionary factors associated with the
invasion success of D. suzukii. The master student will test whether inbreeding depression is reduced in invasive compared to native populations.
To investigate whether deleterious alleles have been purged in the course of invasion, the student will perform controlled crosses in the laboratory and will quantify the level of inbreeding depression in both native and invasive populations (see Facon et al. 2011).
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