Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New genetic analysis forces re-draw of insect family tree

27.10.2006
The family tree covering almost half the animal species on the planet has been re-drawn following a genetic analysis which has revealed new relationships between four major groups of insects.

Scientists have found that flies and moths are most closely related to beetles and more distantly related to bees and wasps, contrary to previous theory.

The findings are published in the special Honey Bee Genome issue of the journal Genome Research which coincides with Nature's publication of the honey bee genome sequence (also Thursday 26 October 2006).

The results are based on an analysis of the same 185 genes found in the genomes of eight different insect families, which together represent 45 per cent of all known animal species.

... more about:
»Analysis »Genetic »distantly »moth »species

This enabled the international group of scientists to work out the evolutionary relationships between the insects based on changes and mutations within those genes.

Previously scientists had assumed that flies and moths were most closely related to bees and wasps, with beetles more distantly related to these groups.

This new family arrangement also brings the different species of social insects, such as termites and bees, closer together - suggesting that the ability of insects to cooperate in social groupings may have evolved just once, rather than independently in several different species.

“About half of all animal species belong to just four groups of insects but, surprisingly, we never knew for sure how they are related to each other,” said Dr Martin Lercher from the University of Bath, who lead the research.

“While there was never unequivocal evidence for it, scientists believed for a long time that, based on morphology, flies and moths were most closely related to bees, with beetles more distantly related to these three groups.

“By comparing genetic information from 185 genes that were sequenced in species from all of these groups, we found that in fact flies and moths are most closely related to beetles, and more distantly related to bees.

“This sheds new light on a large number of evolutionary questions, as a correct understanding of the evolutionary relationships is fundamental to any interpretation of similarities or differences among species.

“For example, social colonies are common among bees and wasps and their relatives, ants, as well as among more distantly related insects, such as termites and aphids.

“That beetles don't show this tendency, known as eusociality, has been interpreted as a sign that eusociality has evolved several times independently.

“Now that we know that bees, wasps and ants are in fact the closest relatives to the more distantly related (or ‘basal’) species, it appears more likely that the genetic basis for eusociality may have evolved only once, and was lost in the common ancestor of beetles, moths, and flies.”

The researchers used the genomes of six different insects from the holometabolous group of insects (insects which undergo complete metamorphosis): fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), mosquito (Anopheles gambiae), silk moth (Bombyx mori), flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum), honey bee (Apis mellifera) and sibling parasitic wasp species (Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti).

These insects represent the four major orders of holometabolous insects, beetles (Coleoptera), moths (Lepidoptera), flies (Diptera) and bees and wasps (Hymenoptera), which together represent 45 per cent of the animal species on earth.

They also included one orthopteran (the grasshopper Locusta migratoria) and one hemipteran (the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum), both of which are uncontested out-groups to the holometabolous insects.

The researchers are from the University of Cologne (Germany), Baylor College of Medicine (USA), University of Rochester (USA), the Institute for Genomic Research (USA), the University of Bath (UK) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany).

The research was funded by the Human Frontier Science Program Organization, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Royal Society and the 21st Century Research & Technology Fund.

Andrew McLaughlin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bath.ac.uk
http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/articles/releases/insecttree231006.html

Further reports about: Analysis Genetic distantly moth species

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New Interaction Mechanism of Proteins Discovered
22.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Histology in 3D: new staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples
22.02.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index started off well in 2018

22.02.2018 | Business and Finance

FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation

22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Histology in 3D: new staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>