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.
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!
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences