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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biologically-based Technologies for Management of Crop Insect Pests in Local and Areawide Programs

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Closely related Wolbachia recovered from different genera of Mexican Thelytokous figitidae (Hymenoptera)

item Davies, Andrew
item Sivinski, John
item Aluja, Martin

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2013
Publication Date: 6/1/2013
Citation: Davies, A., Sivinski, J.M., Aluja, M. 2013. Closely related Wolbachia recovered from different genera of Mexican Thelytokous figitidae (Hymenoptera). Florida Entomologist. 96(2):649-643.

Interpretive Summary: Fruit flies attack hundreds of vegetables and cause trade restrictions wherever they occur. Biological control has promise as an effective means of management and could be even more valuable if bacteria that live in insect cells could be manipulated to turn all parasitoid offspring into females. Scientists at the USDA-Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, in collaboration with Mexican colleagues investigated the genetics of two such bacteria. This information will help identify which genes should be considered for transfer to other natural enemies.

Technical Abstract: Closely related novel Wolbachia strains were recovered from the thelytokous figitids Odontosema anastrephae Borgmeier and Aganaspis alujai Ovruski et al. No Wolbachia were detected in a bi-sexual strain of O. anastrephae. While the presence or absence of Wolbachia does not demonstrate that Wolbachia is responsible for the lack of males produced by infected females, multilocus sequence typing failed to identify other endosymbionts that might have caused sex-ratio distortions. The phylogenies of insects and their Wolbachia are often not parallel and closely related bacteria infecting apparently more distantly related hosts suggests a horizontal transfer occurred after the divergence of the wasps. Given the figitids present ecology there are few obvious opportunities for transfer through host or habitat-sharing.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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