The cytoplasmic incompatibility induced by the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia is attributed to chromatin modification in the sperm of infected individuals and is only ‘rescued’ by infected females after fertilization. Chorthippus parallelus is a grasshopper with 2 subspecies that form a hybrid zone in the Pyrenees in which this Wolbachia-generated cytoplasmic incompatibility has recently been described. The analysis of certain cytogenetic traits (sex chromosome-linked heterochromatic bands, nucleolar organizing region expression, spermatid size and morphology, and number of chiasmata formed) in pure and hybrid Chorthippus parallelus that are infected and not infected by this bacterium indicates that the infection affects some of these traits and, in the case of the spermatids, reveals a synergism between the infection and the hybrid condition. These results are interpreted as being secondary effects of the chromatin modification induced by Wolbachia which thereby support this model of modification/rescue. The possible effects of these cytogenetic variations on affected individuals are also considered.

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