Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Evolution: Stink bug guts reveal DNA surprise

The gut bacteria of the humble stinkbug could reveal intriguing insights into the evolutionary origins of disease-causing bacteria, researchers say.

Plataspid stinkbugs lay their eggs within a small packet of special gut bacteria which the bugs' young, called nymphs, then consume. As the nymphs mature, their guts divide. The top end becomes a sac for digesting plant juice. The bottom swells into a fermentation chamber where the special gut bacteria provide the stinkbugs with still unknown nutrients. Without these, they die.

Takema Fukatsu and colleagues at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, made a family tree of the bacteria's DNA to show how the bacterial species in different insect species were related.

Continued at "Stink bug guts reveal DNA surprise"

The above New Scientist news article is based on the PLoS Biology open access paper "Strict Host-Symbiont Cospeciation and Reductive Genome Evolution in Insect Gut Bacteria"

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