Our work on Spiroplasma evolution in Drosophila is now available as a preprint here. This is the first publication from my postdoctoral work with Greg Hurst at the University of Liverpool. It was also a very nice collaboration with great people from Liverpool, Texas A&M and EPFL. The work was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement 703379.
Spiroplasma is a very interesting symbiont with lots of peculiar features (I'd recommend these reviews about its biology). After some mostly anecdotal evidence that Spiroplasma symbionts evolve quickly, we here have determined Spiroplasma mutational rates systematically. We find that indeed, Spiroplasma can be considered a hypermutator, especially when compared with Wolbachia (the only other natural inherited symbiont of Drosophila). There are some interesting implications for Spiroplasma evolutionary ecology that arise from this which we discuss in the manuscript. We also show and discuss lots of comparative genomics data.
If you want to learn more, please have a look at the video below which is a recording of my presentation about this work from the Symbiosis Seminar Series organised by Nicole Gerardo and Greg Hurst.
This is the website of Michael Gerth. I am a biologist with an interest in insects and the microbes within them. Click here to learn more.