Bacterial Diversity in Butterflies Changes Drastically During Metamorphosis

For the first time ever, a team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has sequenced the internal bacterial makeup of the three major life stages of a butterfly species, a project that showed some surprising events occur during metamorphosis. The team, led by CU-Boulder doctoral student Tobin Hammer, used powerful DNA sequencing methods to […]

Novel Genes Determine Different Castes in Ant Colonies

An ant colony generally consists of a queen and workers that perform different tasks, such as brood care, foraging, or nest defense. This behavioral specialization may be accompanied by morphological and physiological differences — ants from the same colony may look very different from each other, dependent on their caste, despite having similar genetic backgrounds. […]

Single Gene Determines Worker Bees’ Ability to Carry Pollen

Scientists from Michigan State University and Wayne State University have identified how a single gene in honey bees separates the queens from the workers. The scientists unraveled the gene’s inner workings and published the results in the current issue of Biology Letters. The gene, which is responsible for leg and wing development, plays a crucial […]

Panama Considers Sterilizing Mosquitoes to Combat Dengue

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Weeks after Panama’s Health Minister, Javier Diaz, declared that the country was experiencing a “dengue epidemic,” Panama approved the evaluation of a novel tool to combat the dengue mosquito. It involves mass-rearing large numbers of male mosquitoes that are genetically modified so that their offspring cannot reproduce, which reduces the population. Panama is collaborating with […]

425-million-year-old Arthropod Found in England

Palaeobiologists at Oxford University have discovered a new fossil arthropod, christened Enalikter aphson, in 425-million-year-old rocks in Herefordshire, England. It belongs to an extinct group of marine-dwelling “short-great-appendage” arthropods, Megacheira, defined by their claw-like front limbs. The discovery and analysis of Enalikter aphson has given support to the notion that Megacheira came before the last […]