We report the first systematic survey for the presence of Wolbachia endosymbionts in aphids and whiteflies, particularly different populations and biotypes of Bemisia tabaci. Additional agriculturally important species included were predator species, leafhoppers, and lepidopterans. We used a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection assay with ribosomal 16S rDNA and Wolbachia cell surface protein (wsp) gene primers. Wolbachia were detected in a number of whitefly populations and species, whitefly predators, and one leafhopper species; however, none of the aphid species tested were found infected. Single, double, and triple infections were detected in some of the B. tabaci populations. PCR and phylogenetic analysis of wsp gene sequences indicated that all Wolbachia strains found belong to group B. Topologies of the optimal tree derived by maximum likelihood (ML) and a ML tree in which Wolbachia sequences from B. tabaci are constrained to be monophyletic are significantly different. Our results indicate that there have been at least four independent Wolbachia infection events in B. tabaci. The importance of the presence of Wolbachia infections in B. tabaci is discussed. RID=”” ID=”” <E5>Correspondence to: </E5>K. Bourtzis; <E5>email:</E5> firstname.lastname@example.org
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