Natures wonders: bacteria control insect reproduction (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 01, 2017, 18:08 (1225 days ago) @ David Turell

Specialized symbiotic bacteria control insect reproduction. he entire process is not completely understood:

"Two papers published in Nature and Nature Microbiology yesterday (February 27) resolve one of the longest-standing puzzles in entomology: how Wolbachia bacteria cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in their insect hosts. This strategic sterility, in which bacteria-infected female insects can reproduce readily while uninfected ones struggle, turns out to be regulated by two neighboring bacterial genes that encode interacting proteins.

"Wolbachia bacteria are intracellular parasites that infect approximately two-thirds of the world’s arthropods. Passed onto offspring via infection of the egg, but not sperm, these bacteria have developed a range of reproduction-manipulating mechanisms that ensure their continued prevalence. Chief among these is CI, a phenomenon in which infected males can only successfully reproduce with infected females. Matings with uninfected females result in early embryonic death. In some cases, matings with females carrying a competing Wolbachia strain also fails to yield offspring,
Because CI is such a widespread phenomenon, and because it is employed in strategies to stamp out insect pests—or the diseases they carry—researchers would like to know how it works.

“'People have been trying to figure out the molecular mechanisms and the genes responsible for CI . . . for a long time—decades,” said entomologist and epidemiologist Jason Rasgon of Penn State University who also did not participate in the research. “It’s one of the holy grails in the Wolbachia community.”

"But it has not been an easy question to answer, explained Seth Bordenstein of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who led the Nature study. For one thing, he said, the bacteria live inside cells and are “fastidiuous.”

“'It’s very difficult to work with these bacteria outside of their host cell environment. You can’t culture them,” he explained, which makes genetic manipulations troublesome."

Comment: Evolution has resulted in some strange arrangements. This on is not fully understood and I've left out the genome research which is incomplete. But what has happened is that the Wolbachia have found a comfortable home in most insects to continue their lifestyle. why they interfere with reproduction is still not fully understood. I have no idea if God played a role because we don't know if any purpose is present.

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