Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Being Unique Has Advantages: 'Rareness' Key To Some Insects Being Favored By Evolution

Date:
November 6, 2008
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
As the saying goes -- blondes have more fun, but in the world of insects it may actually be the rare "redheads" that have the last laugh ... at least in terms of evolution. A new study has discovered that genetic variation in an asexual insect -- insects that reproduce by cloning themselves -- is maintained by rare clones being chosen for the next generation, a phenomenon known as frequency-dependent selection.

As the saying goes- blondes have more fun, but in the world of insects it may actually be the rare 'redheads' that have the last laugh….at least in terms of evolution.

A new study at the University of Melbourne has discovered that genetic variation in an asexual insect – insects that reproduce by cloning themselves – is maintained by rare clones being chosen for the next generation, a phenomenon known as frequency-dependent selection.

In the study conducted by Dr Andrew Weeks and Prof Ary Hoffmann from the University of Melbourne, the reproduction of a major agricultural pest, the blue oat mite (Penthaleus major) was examined.

"We found that although the mites reproduce asexually, essentially by cloning themselves, some genetic differences were occurring via mutation. These new variants or clones, which start off rare, become common because they are favoured by natural selection" says Dr Weeks, from the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research (CESAR) in the Department of Genetics at the University of Melbourne.

"Essentially, the rarer you are, the more offspring you will leave in the next generation".

To determine how clones were being selected, they set up a series of enclosed plots in several pasture sites in Victoria. They then introduced unique clones of the mites in varying frequencies into the enclosures. The clones that were initially rare became common in the next generation, while the common clones produced fewer offspring.

"This can be a cycling process, where the common clones become rare and then they are at an advantage and become common again" says Dr Weeks.

"Our study has revealed new insights into the ability for asexual organisms to maintain genetic variation" says Prof Hoffmann from CESAR, based at the Bio21 institute. "These mites are problematic for farmers to control and this mechanism means that the species can evolve to counter control measures like the application of chemicals or the introduction of predators."

"Controlling pests is like an arms race between us and the pests – normally we don't expect asexuals to do well in this race, but in this case the asexuals might even win out".

The study is published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Being Unique Has Advantages: 'Rareness' Key To Some Insects Being Favored By Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103192316.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2008, November 6). Being Unique Has Advantages: 'Rareness' Key To Some Insects Being Favored By Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103192316.htm
University of Melbourne. "Being Unique Has Advantages: 'Rareness' Key To Some Insects Being Favored By Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103192316.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins