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Insect Immunity
10 September 2013

Insect Immunity

Bacteria can be good for your body and it’s the same for creepy crawlies. Wolbachia, a common type of bacteria affecting the insect world, boosts the immunity of some species it infects. Understanding more about this symbiotic relationship could provide a means of preventing mosquitos from catching – and transmitting – deadly human diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. In a recent study of fruit flies, scientists made an important discovery. They found that Wolbachia targeted areas, or niches, of females' ovaries that store stem cells – a tactic that explains the bacteria’s success at infecting genetic material passed from females to eggs and larvae. These eight images of ovarian stem cell niches from various species of fruit fly, show how Wolbachia bacteria (stained green) have colonised different areas and were more successful in some than others.

Written by Mick Warwicker

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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