Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breaking the aphid's code

24.02.2010
University of Miami biologist helps sequence the genome of the pea aphid, a notorious agricultural pest

For the first time, scientists have sequenced the entire genome of the pea aphid, a notorious horticultural and agricultural pest. The findings reveal the extent of the genetic collaboration of the aphid host with its bacterial symbiont, which may account for some of the extraordinary characteristics of this insect.

Aphids are among the first insects to appear in early spring on crops. They possess incredible adaptive abilities, and under optimal conditions, reproduce very rapidly. They live by sucking the juices of plants, and if left untreated they can cause plant death. All this means trouble for growers. Annual global crop losses associated with aphids run at hundreds of millions of dollars.

"The most important direct benefits to society from this project will come from the way the project increases our ability to understand the ways that aphids interact with their host plants, the plant viruses they transmit, and their bacterial symbionts. These aspects of aphid biology directly impact food supply and pesticide use," says Alex Wilson, assistant professor of biology at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, and representative for the Americas on the Board of the International Aphid Genomics Consortium, who also serves as member of the project leadership team.

The new study by the International Aphid Genomics Consortium uncovers some of the best-kept secrets of this amazing creature. The study entitled "Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum" was published online today by PLoS Biology. Genomic analysis of the pea aphid and its bacterial symbiont, Buchnera aphidicola, implicates extensive collaboration between the two partners.

"We found that the interaction of the pea aphid with its bacterial symbiont is far more intimate than anyone had previously envisioned," says Wilson. "We hypothesize, based on the genome sequence that they each compensate for the evolutionary loss of genes by shuffling essential metabolic products between them. Gene loss between the two partners is so extensive that neither one can live without the other."

Pea aphids are small, with adult sizes ranging from 4-5 mm, and are green or pink in color. They have amazing plasticity. Whenever overcrowding occurs; an aphid colony will produce winged females that migrate to establish new colonies in other areas. Able to reproduce both sexually and asexually, aphid populations can increase in size at exponential rates: when asexual females are pregnant, their embryos are also pregnant, so females can carry both their daughters and granddaughters, a condition called telescoping of generations.

The sequencing of the pea aphid genome, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, resulted from a collaboration between a team at the Baylor College of Medicine led by Dr. Stephen Richards and the International Aphid Genomics Consortium, a diverse group of investigators who work together to advance understanding of the genome biology of the aphid. This study has engaged 200 scientists from 16 countries in advancing research on an insect of scientific, economic and agricultural importance. "Having a genome opens up our world. Anything is now possible," says Wilson. "The genome provides the foundation. Now the hard work begins."

The University of Miami's mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.

Marie Guma-Diaz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umiami.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>