News of the WeekEvolutionary Biology

Timing Is Everything for Wolbachia Hosts

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Science  10 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 999-1000
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5570.999a

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Researchers have long wondered what sort of molecular trickery Wolbachia use to manipulate their hosts' sex life to boost their own reproductive success. Now they know at least one of their secrets: Like an auto mechanic, Wolbachia can alter the timing of a key step of their hosts' reproductive cycle so that it either misfires or runs smoothly. The work, reported on page 1124 of this issue, offers the first good glimpse of how Wolbachia do this in a species of wasp known as Nasonia vitripennis.