The enemy within: Wolbachia increases the susceptibility of armyworm to viral disease

Interesting paper: Robert I. Graham, David Grzywacz, Wilfred L. Mushobozi and Kenneth Wilson Wolbachia in a major African crop pest increases susceptibility to viral disease rather than protects Ecology Letters 15
DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01820.x

I just read an exciting paper that shows that field populations of the African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) that are infected with an endosymbiont bacteria Wolbachia are more susceptible to mortality due to a nucleopolydrovirus (SpexNPV). Wolbachia are common intra-cellular bacteria found in many insect species, and can protect their hosts from viruses. Researchers are trying to use Wolbachia to reduce the ability of mosquito’s to transmit dengue viruses to people. What Graham et al. have shown is that in the future it may be possible to use the wide-spread infection of armywom by Wolbachia to enhance our efforts to kill this pest using a biopesticide.

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