Wolbachia bacteria infect insects and can cause mating incompatibilities, an outcome that is used to fight insect-transmitted disease. The proposed genes responsible illuminate this process and the disease-control mechanisms.
- Wolbachia bacteria can infect the male and female germ line of insects.
- This bacterial infection can manipulate insect reproductive outcomes to benefit Wolbachia transmission through a phenomenon known as cytoplasmic incompatibility.
- Wolbachia has promise as a potent means of pest control and is being used to limit mosquito-transmitted human diseases such as dengue and Zika.
- Understanding the molecular basis of cytoplasmic incompatibility could aid efforts to improve disease-control strategies.