Animals often house substantial microbial populations within their bodies. While in some cases the microorganisms are necessary for host survival or reproduction, in the preponderance of cases they are not. It is of great interest to understand whether facultative associations with microorganisms ever benefit the host in lesser ways. Previously, a facultative symbiont was identified in pea aphid which was associated with host plant specialization - there was a dramatic increase in fecundity on clover, coupled with failure to survive on alfalfa.
In a study by Leonardo in the June issue of Ecology Letters, antibiotic treatment was used to selectively remove the specialization-associated symbiont, and found that the aphids remained specialized in its absence. In combination with genetic data presented in the paper, this implies that the aphid, rather than symbiont, genome is responsible for causing the observed specialization. Specialization is symbiont associated because closely related aphids tend to share the same symbionts. Interestingly, other recent work (Science 303: 1989) has found that this same symbiont increased aphid fecundity on clover when injected into a novel host lineage. Together, these experiments suggest the symbiont may have played an initial role in host plant specialization, but that it is no longer necessary for maintaining specialization in some parts of the aphids range.
Kate Stinchcombe | alfa
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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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