Wolbachia: A Tale of Sex and Survival

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Science  11 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5519, pp. 1093-1095
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5519.1093

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By manipulating the sex lives of its hosts, the ubiquitous bacterium Wolbachia --perhaps the most common infectious bacterium on Earth--boosts its own reproductive success. Although no vertebrates (humans included) are known to carry Wolbachia, it is rampant in the invertebrate world, showing up in everything from fruit flies to shrimp, spiders, and even parasitic worms and turning the study of Wolbachia into a cottage industry among evolutionary biologists. Researchers suspect that Wolbachia may even provide clues to how species originate.