Monday, November 28, 2011

Mighty Mighty Mites Genome Sequenced

An international team of scientists has cracked the first genetic genome on an arachnid. The mapped genome was that of a spider mite. Spider mites belong to the group of Acari and are related to other parasitic organisms such as ticks. These tiny organisms are invasive and feed off of plant juice. They become a real nuisance in ornamental gardens and feed off of a wide range of plants well over 1,100 known species. The tiny mite usual multiplies quickly and has few resistances, unfortunately for the plant an infestation can lead to death, and causes farmers to have lower yields during harvest time. An estimated 0.5-1 billion dollars is spent annual on pesticides for the small arachnid. Scientists can now find genes within the mites genome to decrease and attempt to create an ecological solution for the problem. There have already been a few new genes that have been discovered in the mites genome that have previously not been found in any other arachnid genomes. These will hopefully shine light into why the plant sucking parasite is so resistant to pesticides. New genes were also found within the genome that played vital roles in the mites production of silk. Using these genes scientist will attempt to harness and mass produce the silk which has a unique combination of properties unlike many substances found today.

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