Determining the Egg Fertilization Rate of Bemisia tabaci Using a Cytogenetic Technique

Elizabeth C. Bondy, Martha S Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A few species of sap-sucking whiteflies are some of the most damaging terrestrial pests worldwide because of the crop damage they inflict and plant viruses they vector. Despite numerous studies of the biology of these species in different environments, a key life history parameter, offspring sex ratios, has received little attention, yet is important for predicting population dynamics. The primary sex ratio (sex ratio at oviposition) of Bemisia tabaci has never been reported but can be found by determining the egg fertilization rate of this haplodiploid insect. The technique involves the dechorionation of eggs with bleach, a series of fixation steps, and the application of the general DNA fluorescent stain, DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, a DNA-binding fluorescent dye), to bind to female and male pronuclei. Here, we present the technique, and an example of its application, to test whether an endosymbiotic bacterium, Rickettsia sp. nr. bellii, influenced the primary sex ratio of B. tabaci. This method may assist in population studies of whiteflies, or in determining if sex allocation exists with certain environmental stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number146
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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