Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strange nature - stolen fungal genes inside an insect

Aphids ('bladlöss') are strange creatures.  Not only do these sapsucking insects excrete sugars for the ants that use them as milksugar cows, new research shows that the red aphids of the pea aphid species, somehow picked up a gene from a fungus to produce red caretonids.  I guess this is 'natural' gene modification, and who knows how long ago this happened. Read more here if you like...


Photo by Angela Douglas, Cornell University.

2 comments:

Mr. Lebo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Lebo said...

I'm a big fan of aphids myself. Their sex life is worth looking into some time if you have a few free minutes and an unrestricted search filter.

My favorite thing about them is this: ants are not the only ones to indulge in a little aphid juice; sometimes bees slurp up a bit of the good stuff too. This results in one of the world's weirdest foods. Honey made from bees who first went shopping at the business end of an aphid. Now that's a refined sugar.