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2021 Fruit Fly ITTC Online Seminar Series kicks off in February

We are glad to announce that our Fruit Fly ITTC Online Seminar Series will resume on the 17th of February 2021 at 11 am AEST.

The series recorded a great success since its launch in October 2020 and will invite more world-leading experts to present the latest findings in fruit fly research in 2021.

Next month, we start with our special guest and Fruit Fly ITTC member Dr Jennifer Morrow from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment of Western Sydney University, Australia.

Dr Morrow will give a presentation titled "Wolbachia and tephritid fruit flies".


Wolbachia is an intracellular, maternally inherited bacterium that is common in insects. However, in some tephritid fruit flies, the incidence is much lower than generally expected. While species of Rhagoletis are well-known hosts, key pests such as Ceratitis capitata, Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera tryoni do not have pervasive Wolbachia associations in natural populations. Therefore, Wolbachia may constitute an interesting candidate for biological control. Interestingly, we detected two co-occurring Wolbachia strains at low prevalence in seven Australian Bactrocera and Dacus species. However, we can now attribute these strains to concealed parasitisation by a strepsipteran parasite, Dipterophagus daci, within the flies’ abdomen. Our research demonstrates that there is surprisingly no Wolbachia naturally inherited by Australian tephritids. Furthermore, we found that Wolbachia microinjected into B. tryoni is lost from its new host after a few generations and, therefore, Australian tephritids may have some resistance to this bacterium.

Wolbachia strains can be used in incompatible insect technique (IIT), a method analogous to the sterile insect technique (SIT) but applies Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) to cause crossing sterility in field insects. Several strains native to Rhagoletis cerasicause CI, but information about their phenotypes, interactions, relatedness and evolution is incomplete. We have genome-sequenced four of its Wolbachia strains which provide resources to expand knowledge and their potential uses in other fruit fly species including Medfly, olive fly and Qfly.

Please register in advance for this event and visit our event page for more info on upcoming seminars.

We hope that you are excited as much as we are and we cannot wait to see you all online!