HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Picky-eater flies losing smell genes

A UC Davis researcher is hot on the scent of some lost fruit fly genes. According to population biology graduate student Carolyn McBride, the specialist fruit fly Drosophila sechellia is losing genes for smell and taste receptors 10 times faster than its generalist relative Drosophila simulans. The findings could help researchers understand how some insect pests adapt to feeding on a particular plant.

Genes are lost when mutations destroy their function. "Drosophila sechellia may be losing genes that helped its ancestors detect and assess plants it no longer uses," said McBride, whose research was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A native of the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, D. sechellia split from its sister species D. simulans half a million years ago -- just a blink of evolutionary time. While D. simulans feeds on a variety of plants, D. sechellia specializes in eating the Indian mulberry, which repels other fruit flies. D. sechellia has evolved resistance to the toxins of its host fruit, and a strong chemical attraction to its scent.

For her genetic analysis, McBride drew on the recently sequenced genomes of D. sechellia and D. simulans, which are available to the public.

"This is the first time that biologists have been able to compare whole genome sequences from closely related insects that differ dramatically in their ecology," she said. McBride also compared the genes of these two flies to another close relative, the classic lab fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

She discovered that not only is the specialist fly losing genes for smell and taste receptors 10 times faster than the generalist, but its remaining sensory genes are also evolving at a more rapid rate. McBride said that the changes in these genes are likely related to the flies' different feeding strategies, because smell and taste are the primary senses that insects use to assess pot
'"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
2-Apr-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Climate change isolates Rocky Mountain butterflies
2. Researchers witness natural selection at work in dramatic comeback of male butterflies
3. Do fruit flies have free will?
4. Survival of the rarest: Fruit flies shed light on the evolution of behavior
5. Similar brain chemicals influence aggression in fruit flies and humans
6. Scientists find genes involved in the battle between Hessian flies and wheat
7. Fruit flies may pave way to new treatments for age-related heart disease
8. Male-killing bacteria makes female butterflies more promiscuous
9. Researchers find link between food odors and lifespan in fruit flies
10. Whiteflies and plant viruses can help each other to speed up biological invasion
11. Fruit flies and global warming -- some like it hot

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


(Date:7/20/2017)... DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead of their boarding ... ... biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in May at the ... to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled in CLEAR to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech ... startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris ... will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson ... France is one of the most dynamic ... in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a data ... titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas Cacciabeve, ... and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic confidence.* ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) ... and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the ... for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the ... sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan and Jennifer Jaye ... GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary approach to achieving ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: