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Genetics. 2005 Aug;170(4):1667-75. Epub 2005 Jun 3.

Widespread prevalence of wolbachia in laboratory stocks and the implications for Drosophila research.

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1
Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

Abstract

Wolbachia is an intracellular microbe harbored by a wide variety of arthropods (including Drosophila) and filarial nematodes. Employing several different strategies including male killing, induced parthenogenesis, cytoplasmic incompatibility, and feminization, and acting by as-yet-unknown mechanisms, Wolbachia alters host reproduction to increase its representation within a population. Wolbachia is closely associated with gametic incompatibility but also interacts with Drosophila in other, little understood ways. We report here significant and widespread infection of Wolbachia within laboratory stocks and its real and potential impact on Drosophila research. We describe the results of a survey indicating that approximately 30% of stocks currently housed at the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center are infected with Wolbachia. Cells of both reproductive tissues and numerous somatic organs harbor Wolbachia and display considerable variation in infection levels within and between both tissue types. These results are discussed from the perspective of Wolbachia's potential confounding effects on both host fitness and phenotypic analyses. In addition to this cautionary message, the infection status of stock centers may provide further opportunities to study the genetic basis of host/symbiosis.

PMID:
15937134
PMCID:
PMC1449785
DOI:
10.1534/genetics.104.038901
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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