Parental microbiota modulates offspring development, body mass and fecundity in a polyphagous fruit fly

Binh Nguyen, The Anh Than, Hue Dinh, Juliano Morimoto Borges, Fleur Ponton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


The commensal microbiota is a key modulator of animal fitness, but little is known about the extent to which the parental microbiota influences fitness-related traits of future generations. We addressed this gap by manipulating the parental microbiota of a polyphagous fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) and measuring offspring developmental traits, body composition, and fecundity. We generated three parental microbiota treatments where parents had a microbiota that was non-manipulated (control), removed (axenic), or removed-and-reintroduced (reinoculation). We found that the percentage of egg hatching, of pupal production, and body weight of larvae and adult females were lower in offspring of axenic parents compared to that of non-axenic parents. The percentage of partially emerged adults was higher, and fecundity of adult females was lower in offspring of axenic parents relative to offspring of control and reinoculated parents. There was no significant effect of parental microbiota manipulation on offspring developmental time or lipid reserve. Our results reveal transgenerational effects of the parental commensal microbiota on different aspects of offspring life-history traits, thereby providing a better understanding of the long-lasting effects of host–microbe interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1289
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • transgenerational effects
  • gut microbiota
  • offspring performance
  • life-history traits
  • reproductive success


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