Biology of Wolbachia

Annu Rev Entomol. 1997;42:587-609. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.42.1.587.


Wolbachia are a common and widespread group of bacteria found in reproductive tissues of arthropods. These bacteria are transmitted through the cytoplasm of eggs and have evolved various mechanisms for manipulating reproduction of their hosts, including induction of reproductive incompatibility, parthenogenesis, and feminization. Wolbachia are also transmitted horizontally between arthropod species. Significant recent advances have been made in the study of these interesting microorganisms. In this paper, Wolbachia biology is reviewed, including their phylogeny and distribution, mechanisms of action, population biology and evolution, and biological control implications. Potential directions for future research are also discussed.