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 Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>