Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The genetics of life and death in an evolutionary arms-race

[caption id="attachment_7659" align="aligncenter" width="473" caption="The Aphidius Ervi on the aphid host"][/caption]


This is a very interesting article on the evolutionary arms-race between parasitoids and their aphid hosts. This study shows how genetic variation can influence parasite-manipulation. This study was led by Dr. Mouhammad Shadi Khudr. The researchers began the study by taking the F1 generation of 13 males and 3 females Aphidius ervi wasp and introducing into 156 cages that held a broad bean plant and an aphid colony. The researchers than compared the behavior of the aphids in the presence and absences of the wasp. Successful parasitism is noted by the death of the aphid host. The results of the study found that parasitism by a parasitoid wasp can lead to behavioral modifications in an aphid host.

“What we’ve been able to do in this study is to open the window on how the genetics of one species influence the behaviour and manipulation of another host species.” (Dr. Khudr).



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