These findings, published last month in the journal PLoS ONE open the way for future research into improved use of pesticides and antibiotics in pest and parasite control.
Patrícia Lopes and co-workers followed 20 generations of the worm C. elegans in the presence of Levamisole, a widely-used pesticide that acts on the nervous system, is lethal, but also affects fecundity and mobility, when present at lower doses. They found that Levamisole markedly reduced fecundity, survival and the frequency of males.
Indeed, these almost disappeared in the population: from an initial frequency of 30%, they reached 0% by the 10th generation. The researchers showed that this drastic decrease in male frequency was not due to males being more susceptible to the pesticide than females. Rather, the pesticide affected the worms’ mobility and, consequently, their ability to find a mate.
However, the populations of worms were able to adapt to the new Levamisole environment, so that by the 10th generation, survival and fecundity had recovered, and the frequency of males increased again by the 20th generation. The ability to lose males in a population and still reproduce is only possible because C. elegans is a hermaphrodite species, that is, within a population, some worms are both male and female and can thus breed on their own, a process called ‘selfing’.
The researchers then placed the adapted worms into the original, pesticide-free environment and found that the worms survived perfectly. Scientists say that there were no adaptation costs to the population. Says Elio Sucena, group leader at the IGC and co-author of this study, ‘These findings have implications for managing the application of pesticides: if we had found that the survival of adapted worms in the original environment was impaired too, this would have meant that, by maintaining areas where the pesticide is not spread, resistance to the pesticide could be controlled, and the efficacy of the pesticide increased’.
Sara Magalhães, group leader at the University of Lisbon, points out that ‘As a result of the widespread use of pesticides and antibiotics, resistance to these chemicals has developed in many species. Our ability to manage this resistance entails being able to dissect the genetic changes underlying the acquisition of resistance. Our approach, using experimental evolution, allows us to manipulate several factors, such as population size, environmental stability and genetic background in our efforts to tackle and understand pesticide resistance, not only of C. elegans but also other pests and parasites’.
Ana Godinho | alfa
New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology
Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences