The tsetse fly (Dipteria: Glossinidae) relies on its obligate endosymbiont, Wigglesworthia glossinidia, for fertility and nutrition. Wigglesworthia is related to Escherichia coli, but full characterization has been limited as it cannot be cultivated in vitro. In the June 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Akman and Aksoy describe how they used E. coli gene arrays to study the Wigglesworthia genome (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:7546-7551). They painstakingly isolated bacterial DNA by microscopic dissection of bacterial tissue from 200 tsetse guts. Using contour-clamped homogeneous electric field (CHEF) electrophoresis they determined that the Wigglesworthia genome is less than 770 kilobases (about one sixth the size of E. coli). They hybridized Wigglesworthia DNA to E. coli microarrays to identify 650 orthologous genes, which are predicted to represent about 85% of its genome. Analysis of Wigglesworthia cDNA using the E. coli arrays...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!