HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Can a taste for poison drive speciation?

The endless struggle for survival in nature inevitably boils down to finding food and eluding predators. To avoid the latter, many plants produce chemical weapons to discourage predators. A sound strategy overall, but the rules of co-evolutionary war suggest that an herbivore will evolve resistance to the toxic defenses of plants. The fruit fly Drosophila sechellia, for example, has a penchant for the fruit of a Polynesian shrub called Tahitian Noni (Morinda citrifolia) that smells so foul it's nicknamed 'vomit fruit.' Other Drosophila species treat the rank odor, which arises from the toxins hexanoic acid and octanoic acid, as a warning sign to stay away. And with good reason-if they alight on Tahitian Noni's fruit, they die. But D. sechellia blithely homes in on the malodorous fruit to lay its eggs, ensuring a bounteous meal for its larval offspring. D. sechellia's resistance to a plant that kills likely competitors gives the fly nearly exclusive access to its host-a distinct ecological advantage. But it also raises an important question for evolutionary biologists: are the factors that promote specialized ecological interactions between herbivore and plant host sufficient to drive herbivore speciation?

In a new study, published by PLoS Bioogy, Takashi Matsuo, Yoshiaki Fuyama, and colleagues explored the genetic factors underlying the behavioral differences between D. sechellia and other Drosophila species. Taking advantage of the robust genetic tools offered by D. melanogaster, the researchers traced the flies' divergent host-plant preferences to two olfactory genes, odorant-binding protein 57e (Obp57e) and Obp57d. Their findings suggest that as the expression patterns of these genes changed in D. sechellia, the fly lost the impulse to avoid Tahitian Noni, allowing an adaptive shift to this previously proscribed plant.

The researchers generated lines of "knock-out" flies that lacked either Obp57e genes, adjacent Obp57d genes, or both (cal
'"/>

Contact: Natalie Bouaravong
press@plos.org
415-568-3445
Public Library of Science
23-Apr-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Sour taste make you pucker? It may be in your genes
2. Halos and horns: Fixing the taste of diet soda
3. New findings in smell and taste
4. Termites get the vibe on what tastes good
5. Studies of population genetics, evolution are an exercise in bad taste
6. Penn researchers discover initial steps in the development of taste
7. A human taste for rarity spells disaster for endangered species
8. Honey bee chemoreceptors found for smell and taste
9. Gene key to taste bud development identified
10. Bitter taste identifies poisons in foods
11. Researchers identify taste receptor responsible for caffeine detection

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:7/17/2019)... ... July 18, 2019 , ... ... Meredith James, HT, PMP, to its executive team as Vice President of Operations. ... drug development. In her new role, Ms. James is responsible for ensuring on-time ...
(Date:7/17/2019)... ... 15, 2019 , ... RCH Solutions (RCH), a ... companies, announces the availability of new specialty advisory practice, a Public Cloud Managed ... emerging bio-pharma companies interested in achieving specific outcomes related to public Cloud adoption. ...
(Date:7/17/2019)... ... ... Imagine using a simple, portable test to detect cancer before malignant tissues ... South Dakota School of Mines & Technology researcher Congzhou Wang, Ph.D., these ideas are ... to monitor and prevent disease,” says Wang. , Wang, an assistant professor in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/26/2019)... ... July 25, 2019 , ... LeadingBiotech , an exclusive ... announces its Boston BD conference to be held on September 10, ... Boston , the event provides an opportunity for attendees to leverage insight from ...
(Date:7/17/2019)... , ... July 16, 2019 ... ... long-term strategic agreement for the development and manufacturing of Zolgensma® (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi), ... this collaboration, AveXis, a Novartis company, will have dedicated manufacturing space at ...
(Date:7/2/2019)... ... July 02, 2019 , ... Leading Regenerative Veterinary Medicine company, ... Where Beasts Meet Biotech. The film focuses on regenerative veterinary medicine as a ... Pharm was recently included in the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades International Film ...
(Date:6/11/2019)... ... June 10, 2019 , ... Thought Technology Ltd is ... of Biofeedback Tech Ltd as its authorised distributor for the UK ... many therapeutic treatments and clinical assessment protocols to treat stress related disorders as ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: