Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny bugs in mealybugs have smaller bugs inside them

28.08.2002


Like tiny Russian dolls, the mealybugs that infest your houseplants carry bacteria inside their cells that are themselves infected with another type of bacteria. A new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, shows that instead of spreading from bug to bug, the second set of bacteria infected the first several times in the past and are now being passed along and evolving with them.



The knowledge could be useful for working out how the insect species are related to each other, aiding pest control efforts.

Scientists had previously known that mealybugs carry two different types of bacteria. In 2001, researchers at Utah State University led by Carol von Dohlen showed that one type, called the secondary or S-endosymbiont, was actually inside the other, called the primary or P-endosymbiont. The P-endosymbionts were themselves inside specialized cells in the mealybug’s body.


The P-endosymbionts seem to benefit mealybugs by making essential amino acids not found in their diet of plant sap, said UC Davis microbiology professor Paul Baumann.

"The insect has domesticated a bacterium for its own use," Baumann said. So far, no one knows what benefits flow to the insect or the P-endosymbiont from the S-endosymbionts, he said.

Baumann, with postgraduate researcher My Lo Thao and entomology professor Penny Gullan studied DNA sequences of P-and S-endosymbionts from several different species of mealybugs to see how they were related to each other.

The P-endosymbionts are all descended from an infection of an ancestor bug 150 to 250 million years ago, Baumann said. The S-endosymbionts had infected P-endosymbionts at least four times. Since then, the bacteria have been passed down through generations of bugs and split into new species at the same time as their hosts.

Because the evolutionary trees of the bugs, their bacteria and their bacteria’s bacteria are so similar, the bacterial DNA sequences can be used to identify the insects and work out how the different species of mealybug are related to each other. Bacterial DNA is easier to work with than insect DNA, Baumann said.

Mealybugs belong to the same group of insects as aphids and psyllids. Many members of the group are significant pests on farms, gardens and houseplants.

Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>