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This protocol describes curing a Nasonia strain of its Wolbachia symbionts (Breeuwer and Werren 1990,Breeuwer and Werren 1993). Wolbachia cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in Nasonia. Crosses between infected and uninfected wasps, or between infected wasps of different species, will fail because of Wolbachia. The sperm modification which induces CI appears to be established before the adult stage, so it is generally not possible to cure an infection and break the CI barrier in the same generation. A Wolbachia infection can be removed from a strain over a number of generations, however, by feeding antibiotics and selecting on females who show partial CI. The current genome sequenced strains of Nasonia (AsymCX, IV7(u), RV2X(u)) are all Wolbachia-free.
JHW and DL acknowledge support from the NIH 1 R24 GM084917-01 and assistance from Rachel Edwards, Jon Giebel, Michael Clark and Rhitoban Raychoudhury.