How mosquito-controlling bacteria might also enhance insect fertility

Public Library of Science,  Phys Org,  2023.

A new study reveals biological mechanisms by which a specific strain of bacteria in the Wolbachia genus might enhance the fertility of the insects it infects—with potentially important implications for mosquito-control strategies. Shelbi Russell of the University of California Santa Cruz, US, and colleagues reported these findings in the open access journal PLOS Biology on October 24th. Different strains of Wolbachia bacteria naturally infect a number of different animals worldwide, such as mosquitos, butterflies, and fruit flies. Wolbachia can manipulate the fertility of their hosts through a specific biological mechanism that aids the spread of Wolbachia within host populations. In recent years, people have harnessed that mechanism in strategies to deliberately infect mosquitos with a specific Wolbachia strain, reducing targeted mosquito populations and thereby potentially reducing the spread of human viruses carried by mosquitos, such as dengue or Zika.

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