Insects with complex life cycles provide an ideal system for investigating the relationship between sex-skewing bacterial symbionts and the secondary loss of sexual reproduction. This research utilized the insect family Adelgidae, a group notorious for having peculiar and complex life cycles. In this family, some species have lost their sexual generation entirely, trapping them in asexual reproduction. Additionally, these insects are known to harbor multiple symbionts, both obligate and facultative. The array of facultative symbionts that have been detected includes the infamous sex-skewing symbiont Wolbachia. This symbiont is known to induce male killing, cytoplasmic incompatibility, and parthenogenesis in insects. Additionally, it may be maternally inherited. These two aspects combined may ensure this bacteria is exponentially more prevalent in future generations by inducing asexual reproduction. This research aimed to determine whether Wolbachia is inducing asexual reproduction in the adelgids and thus whether a correlation between Wolbachia and asexual reproduction exists in the adelgids. By employing molecular techniques such as PCR and Sanger sequencing, we were able to make the determination that no apparent correlation exists between adelgid asexuality and the presence of Wolbachia as an endosymbiont.
Aper, Ian J.; Weglarz, Katie; and Dohlen, Carol Von, "Wolbachia and Sex" (2016). Biology Posters. Paper 111.