INHERITED rickettsial symbionts of the genus Wolbachia occur commonly in arthropods and have been implicated in the expression of parthenogenesis 1,2, feminization2,3 and cytoplasmic incompatibility phenomena in their respective hosts4-7. Here we use purified Wolbachia from the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, to replace the natural infection of Drosophila simulans by means of embryonic microinjection techniques. The transferred Wolbachia infection behaves like a natural Drosophila infection with regard to its inheritance, cytoskeleton interactions and ability to induce incompatibility when crossed with uninfected flies. The transinfected flies are bidirectionally incompatible with all other naturally infected strains of Drosophila simulans, however, and as such represent a unique crossing type. The successful transfer of this symbiont between distantly related hosts suggests that it may be possible to introduce this agent experimentally into arthropod species of medical and agricultural importance in order to manipulate natural populations genetically.
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