Wolbachia pipientis is one of the most widely studied endosymbionts today, yet we know little about its short-term adaptation and evolution. Here, using a set of 91 inbred Drosophila melanogaster lines from five populations, we explore patterns of diversity and recent evolution in the Wolbachia strain wMel. Within the D. melanogaster lines, we identify six major mitochondrial clades and four wMel clades. Concordant with past studies, the Wolbachia haplotypes contain an overall low level of nucleotide diversity, yet they still display geographic structuring. Using Bayesian analysis informed with demographic estimates of colonization times, we estimate that all extant D. melanogaster mitochondrial haplotypes coalesce to a Wolbachia-infected ancestor approximately 2200 years ago. Finally, we measure wMel titre within the infected flies and find that titre varies across populations, an effect attributable to host genetic factors. This demonstration of local phenotypic divergence suggests that intraspecific host genetic variation plays a key role in shaping this model symbiotic system.
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