Wigglesworthia glossinidia brevipalpis

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Wigglesworthia glossinidia brevipalpis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Gamma Proteobacteria
Order: Enterobacteriales
Family: Enterobacteriaceae
Genus: Wigglesworthia
Species: W. glossinidia brevipalpis
Binomial name
Wigglesworthia glossinidia


Overview

Wigglesworthia glossinidia brevipalpis is a Gram-negative bacterium in the family Enterobacteriaceae, related to E. coli, which lives in the gut of the tsetse fly. The bacterium bears the name of the British entomologist who first described it, Sir Vincent Brian Wigglesworth. Wigglesworthia has symbiotically co-evolved with the tsetse fly for millions of years, and is a text book example of a bacterial endosymbiont. Because of this relationship, Wigglesworthia has lost a large part of its genome and has one of the smallest known genomes of any living organism. Together with Buchnera aphidicola, Wigglesworthia has been the subject of genetic research into the minimal genome necessary for any living organism. Wigglesworthia also synthesizes key vitamins which the tsetse fly does not get from its diet of blood. Without the vitamins Wigglesworthia produces, the tsetse fly cannot reproduce. Since the tsetse fly spreads african sleeping sickness, Wigglesworthia may one day be used to control the spread of this terrible disease.

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