Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The world`s most stable genome has been identified in aphid endosymbionts

01.07.2002


Bacteria that reproduce inside aphids have not changed their genetic make-up for the last 50-70 million years. This makes the genomes of these bacteria the most stable of all organisms yet studied. This finding is presented by a team of scientists at Uppsala University, Sweden, in the latest issue of the scientific journal Science.



Under the leadership of Professor Siv Andersson, researchers Ivica Tama, Lisa Klasson, Björn Canbäck, Kristina Näslund, Ann-Sofie Eriksson, and Johan Sandström at the Department of Molecular Evolution, Center for Evolutionary Biology, in collaboration with Professor Nancy Moran in Tucson, Arizona, have described the entire genetic make-up of a bacterium that reproduces inside aphids, Buchnera (Sg) and compared it to that of a close relative, Buchnera (Ap).

These aphid endosymbionts, so called because they live in symbiosis with aphids, are closely related to common bacteria like Salmonella, but the adaptation to the aphids have entailed a drastic reduction in the size of the genome, which now consists of only 640,000 bases, about 14% of the genome of Salmonella species.


Aphid endosymbionts produce important amino acids that are not present in the plant sap that the aphids drink. The bacteria live in a special type of cell in the body of the aphids and are transmitted from one generation to the next by being packed into the eggs of the aphides. These bacteria are believed to have lived in symbiosis with aphids for at least 150 million years. They have now become so important that aphides can no longer live without their bacteria. If aphids treated with antibiotics, they becomes sterile -- or die.

With the aid of available fossil data from aphids, it has been estimated that the aphids that harbor these two bacteria diverged from each other roughly 50-70 million years ago. Since these aphis symbionts have lived enclosed in the bodies of the aphids, this dating can also be used to determine when the bacterial endosymbionts diverged from each other. By measuring differences in the two genomes, the Uppsala scientists have been able to calculate for the first time exactly how many mutations have taken place in the genome of a bacterium in nature over a period spanning 50-70 million years. Surprisingly, it has now been shown that these tiny, isolated aphis bacteria have largely escaped the ravages of time. The biggest surprise is that the order of the genes has not changed over the past 50 million years.

This stability is in stark contrast to the genomes of Salmonella species, which change very rapidly in structure. It has been calculated that the genomic structure of Salmonella has been altered at a rate more than 2,000 times that of the aphid endosymbionts. The secret behind the extreme stability of the aphid endosymbionts probably lies in the fact that during the early process of degradation they eliminated the genes that are needed for cutting and pasting genetic material.

However, it is extremely unlikely that the aphids` stable minibacteria will ever return to a normal life outside the aphids. They are now completely controlled by the aphids, so much so that the question can be raised whether they should be seen as bacteria or rather as organs of aphides. But if that is the case, then this is the first organ that has its own genetic code!

Jon Hogdal | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

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...

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

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>