Highlights

  • Atrazine exposure leads to changes in host microbiota that are vertically transmitted
  • Atrazine is toxic to the hymenopteran model Nasonia at very high doses
  • Specific gut bacteria metabolize atrazine and are enriched after atrazine exposure
  • Multi-generational exposure causes host genome divergence

Summary

The gut is a first point of contact with ingested xenobiotics, where chemicals are metabolized directly by the host or microbiota. Atrazine is a widely used pesticide, but the role of the microbiome metabolism of this xenobiotic and the impact on host responses is unclear. We exposed successive generations of the wasp Nasonia vitripennis to subtoxic levels of atrazine and observed changes in the structure and function of the gut microbiome that conveyed atrazine resistance. This microbiome-mediated resistance was maternally inherited and increased over successive generations,

Intestines with Gut Bacteria on Blackboard

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while also heightening the rate of host genome selection.