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:4/4/2019)... GALWAY, Ireland (PRWEB) , ... April 02, 2019 ... ... discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class stromal cell immunotherapies, announced it will move ... to become the anchor tenant at the University’s newly created biotechnology park in ...
(Date:4/4/2019)... ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... April 02, ... ... a leading clinical genetics testing company, will present results demonstrating that RNA genetic ... hereditary cancer genetic testing. This study, awarded as a Top Rated poster, is ...
(Date:4/1/2019)... ... April 01, 2019 , ... uBiome announces ... Related Conditions” by the US Patent and Trademark Office on January 1, 2019 ... by uBiome collaborators Dr. Zachary Apte, Dr. Daniel Almonacid, Dr. Jessica Richman, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/10/2019)... , ... April 10, 2019 , ... After more than ... The new kitchen is equipped with updated appliances and modern lighting and fixtures, ... Jolla-based venue. , “We’ve seen tremendous growth in the demand for our ...
(Date:4/9/2019)... ... , ... Sonny Bar Lisa, or Sonny for short, is a quarter horse ... a series of diagnostics, an MRI was performed which revealed Sonny had torn his ... found that VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy may be a treatment option for ...
(Date:4/8/2019)... and BOSTON (PRWEB) , ... April 08, 2019 ... ... cloud-based enterprise-class unified communications and collaboration solutions, announced today the launch of their ... to an unprecedented range of business and contact-orientated applications while using CT Cloud ...
(Date:4/8/2019)... ... April 09, 2019 , ... To support the global ... Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub) has chosen Geneious Biologics to help them analyze and ... Biohub’s efforts to establish new approaches to inform the discovery of antibody-based diagnostics, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: