Wolbachia are cytoplasmically inherited, endosymbiotic bacteria known to infect a wide variety of arthropods. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene was used to assay the infection of geographically disparate populations of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) by Wolbachia. Nine North American, four South American, one Hawaiian, and four Old World populations of A. albopictus were all doubly infected with both the wAlbA and wAlbB strains of Wolbachia. A 365-bp region of the wAlbA wsp gene was sequenced from seven geographically disparate host populations, and all sequences were identical. Similarly, a 474-bp region of the wAlbB wsp gene was sequenced from the same populations, and all sequences were identical. These results suggest a role for Wolbachia infection in causing the previously established pattern of low mitochondrial DNA variability, but average nuclear gene diversity, within and among populations of A. albopictus.
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