Insects, the most taxonomically diverse group of organisms on the planet, harbour microbial communities in their
cells and guts. These residents confer a range of benefits including protecting their insect hosts against coinfecting
pathogens. We propose to elucidate the mechanism of this pathogen blocking and ascertain its broader
consequences for the host. Using innovative evolutionary and genetic approaches the project will address a
fundamental knowledge gap in a widespread insect:microbe symbiosis. The research will also inform the
development of resistance management strategies for symbiont-based biocontrol programs currently in fieldtesting.
Outcomes will have relevance for a variety of insect borne diseases.