A Conversation for Parasitoid Insects
Another Wolbachia trick
MrDavidH Started conversation Sep 17, 2005
Another thing which Wolbachia can do is feminisation of males (i.e. turning a genetic male into a female). Explanation below derived from Majerus 2002 (see http://makeashorterlink.com/?U55E240DB).
This has been known for a while in woodlice and recently discovered in two species of moth Ostrinia furnacalis and O. scapulalis.
Essentially in species so infected there are three types of moths.
Normal males (ZZ sex chromosomes)
Normal females (ZW sex chromosomes)
Feminised males (ZZ sex chromosomes + Wolbachia)
The feminised males function as female developing ovaries and eggs. They mate with males and lay eggs as normal.
Vertical transmission of Wolbachia is strong so the vast majority of such feminised male's offspring will be also feminised males. If a feminised male is later 'cured' of Wolbachia it will remain female in appearance but all its offspring will be male as both it and its mate will contribute Z chromosomes leaving a male offspring.
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