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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2007 Mar;57(Pt 3):654-7.

Taxonomic status of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia pipientis.

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School of Biological Sciences and Sydney University Biological Informatics and Technology Centre, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Wolbachia pipientis is a maternally inherited, intracellular bacterium found in more than 20 % of all insects, as well as numerous other arthropods and filarial nematodes. It has been the subject of a growing number of studies in recent decades, because of the remarkable effects it has on its arthropod hosts, its potential as a tool for biological control of arthropods of agricultural and medical importance and its use as a target for treatment of filariasis. W. pipientis was originally discovered in cells of the mosquito Culex pipiens and is the only formally described member of the genus. Molecular sequence-based studies have revealed a number of phylogenetically diverse strains of W. pipientis. Owing to uncertainty about whether W. pipientis comprises more than one species, researchers in the field now commonly refer to W. pipientis simply as Wolbachia. In this note, we briefly review higher-level phylogenetic and recombination studies of W. pipientis and propose that all the intracellular symbionts known to cluster closely with the type strain of W. pipientis, including those in the currently recognized supergroups (A-H), are officially given this name.

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