Living on the edge with Wolbachia

argylesock says… the bacteria called Wolbachia provide a good example of biological control. Of its promise and of its risk.

A bugly life

The welfare of our planet and of the human species has become a major focus of many nations. One of the greatest challenges we face is food security. We are running out of space for growing food but we continue to grow in population. Farmers face the mighty challenge of growing more and losing less, when all the while climate change is expected to create new pest and disease threats, decrease crop yields and exacerbate water shortages. Our concern for the environment and sustainability has tightened pesticide regulations and fostered research into alternative methods. Consequently, biological controls, touted as an environmentally safe way to regulate pest populations, are becoming ever more popular. But how safe are these biological controls?

Enter Wolbachia. These symbiotic bacteria inhabit the intracellular space of arthropods and nematodes. They are estimated to have invaded over a million insect species alone by wreaking havoc on their…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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