Gut microbes may put barrier between species

Removing bacteria in wasps saves crossbred offspring from death

By Susan Milius, 12:57 PM July 2, 2013

SNOWBIRD, Utah — The bazillion microbes teeming inside bigger creatures may be an overlooked but vital part of what divides the big organisms into species.

Two species of jewel wasp (Nasonia giraulti and N. vitripennis) stay separate in large part because most male larvae die when the species crossbreed, says Seth Bordenstein of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Biologists have long blamed the demise on lethal incompatibilities in DNA. Yet using antibiotics to kill off the gut bacteria in th...

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