Variation in Wolbachia effects on Aedes mosquitoes as a determinant of invasiveness and vectorial capacity

King, Jessica G. and Souto-Maior, Caetano and Sartori, Larissa M. and Maciel-De-Freitas, Rafael and Gomes, M. Gabriela M. (2018) Variation in Wolbachia effects on Aedes mosquitoes as a determinant of invasiveness and vectorial capacity. Nature Communications, 9 (1). 1483. ISSN 2041-1723

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    Abstract

    Wolbachia has been introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to control the spread of arboviruses, such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Studies showed that certain Wolbachia strains (such as wMel) reduce replication of dengue viruses in the laboratory, prompting the release of mosquitoes carrying the bacterium into the field, where vectorial capacity can be realistically assessed in relation to native non-carriers. Here we apply a new analysis to two published datasets, and show that wMel increases the mean and the variance in Ae. aegypti susceptibility to dengue infection when introgressed into Brazil and Vietnam genetic backgrounds. In the absence of other processes, higher mean susceptibility should lead to enhanced viral transmission. The increase in variance, however, widens the basis for selection imposed by unexplored natural forces, retaining the potential for reducing transmission overall.