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
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
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Second research flight into zero gravity
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
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In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
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By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
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COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
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'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
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