Intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia often behave as reproductive parasites by manipulating host reproduction to enhance the vertical transmission of infections. Wolbachia infections in Aedes albopictus (Skuse) cause a reproductive manipulation known as cytoplasmic incompatibility, which can reduce brood hatch. Because field populations of Ae. albopictus are naturally infected, studies of Wolbachia-induced effects on Ae. albopictus reproduction and fitness require that Wolbachia be artificially removed. Although simple techniques for clearing Wolbachia infections from other host insects have been developed, removal of Wolbachia bacteria from Ae. albopictus is difficult. Here we describe an improved method for removing Wolbachia infections Ae. albopictus. This method differs from earlier techniques in that it relies upon the tetracycline treatment of adults instead of larvae. We demonstrate that tetracycline treatment of adult Ae. albopictus can predictably generate uninfected individuals, simplify the procedure required for Wolbachia removal, and reduce the level of inbreeding required to produce uninfected lines.
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Vol. 38 • No. 6