The study, “Alarm pheromone habituation in Myzus persicae has fitness consequences and causes extensive gene expression changes,” was authored by Georg Jander, associate scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) located on the Cornell campus, and Robert Raguso, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior. Co-authors also include Martin de Vos, a former BTI post-doctoral researcher; Wing Yin Cheng, a former undergraduate researcher in Jander’s lab; and Holly Summers, a graduate student in Raguso’s lab.
Under normal circumstances, when a ladybug captures and bites into an aphid, the victim releases an alarm pheromone called beta-farnesene, prompting nearby aphids to walk away or drop off the plant. When aphids are raised on plants genetically engineered to emit beta-farnesene, they become accustomed to the chemical and no longer respond to it – even when a predator is present – making them easy prey.
Aphids reared continuously on genetically engineered Arabidopsis thaliana plants that produced beta-farnesene became habituated to the pheromone within three generations and no longer responded to the compound. In the absence of predators, the habituated aphids produce more progeny, likely because they expended less energy on running away and focus more on feeding compared to normal aphids. However, said Jander: “When we put ladybugs into the mix, the ones that are habituated to the alarm pheromone get eaten more.” Anxious aphids – those actually responding to pheromone alarms – had a higher survival rate in the presence of predators.
Genetically engineered crop plants or those that naturally produce the aphid alarm pheromone, for instance some potato varieties, could be used to increase the effectiveness of aphid predators as part of future crop protection strategies.
The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the research.
Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine