It is also of great importance for the control of agricultural pests and of insect-borne diseases, since parasitoid wasps bite and lay eggs on much larger insects, many of which are the ones to later cause plagues or spread infectious diseases. The research could pave the way for new methods of controlling these plagues and preventing the propagation of diseases.
Parasitoid wasps are four times smaller than the common fruit fly. They lay eggs within other insects and kill their host before leaving. Although their size is insignificant, their importance in the control of populations of agricultural pests is crucial. Thanks to these insects billions of euros worth of crops are saved each year. Not only that, but the genus Nasonia is very useful for research carried out in genetics, given that the males evolve from non-fertilised eggs and only have one set of chromosomes, and it is therefore immediately possible to detect the effects of chromosomes which have undergone mutations. In experiments in which mutations take place, the altered genes are easily detected because there is no copy of the gene which could mask the effects.
The research, recently published in the journal Science, shows the full genome sequencing of the species Nasonia vitripennis, Nasonia giraulti and Nasonia longicornis. It also points out key discoveries made with these sequencings, such as the identification of the genes responsible for the venom produced by wasps. Scientists have identified 79 different proteins in this venom, 23 of which had never been observed before. This information could be very useful in the development of new drugs, since these proteins have important physiological effects on the cells of their hosts. With the complete sequencing of these genomes, research also can identify the genes that determine which specific insects will be attacked by the parasitoid wasp, as well as the specific food needs of its offspring at large scale.
The genome sequencing has led to important discoveries. A set of nuclear and mitochondrial genes have been discovered which evolve much more rapidly than usual, and which could accelerate the process of formation of new species. Researchers also observed bacterial and virus genes included in the genome of wasps. These findings have helped to better understand the genetic mechanisms regulating the evolution of living beings.
Dr Deodoro Oliveira is postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in Genetics at the UAB Department of Genetics and Microbiology. His research focuses on the distribution and evolution of the transposable element Galileo in the genus Drosophila. The follow-up to his research consists in molecular approximation aimed at the study of evolutionary problems. He has worked on Nasonia genetics and genomes and on the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia at the laboratory of Dr John Werren at University of Rochester, New York. Prior to that Dr Oliveira worked on the study of evolutionary relations of the genus Drosophila at the American Museum of Natural History of New York.
Deodoro Oliveira | EurekAlert!
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research