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Parasitic Wasp Genome Is Like the Wasp Itself: Weird and Surprising

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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:54 AM
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Parasitic Wasp Genome Is Like the Wasp Itself: Weird and Surprising
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/01/15/pa... /

"Some parasitic wasps may be no bigger than the head of a pin, but their genetics have plenty to teach us, a new study in Science says.

A research team has sequenced the genomes of three different species of parasitic wasp. Why bother with these tiny insects? For starters, genetics is easy. Females, like humans, carry two copies of every chromosome. But males develop from unfertilized eggs, which only carry one of each. With only one copy, even recessive mutations will be easy to identify and characterize .

Parasitic wasps, then, make for an interesting science experiment. But their genetics could hold practical secrets, too. These wasps are deadly to many insects that bother us by attacking crops or livestock. If we can harness their full potential, they would be vastly preferable to chemical pesticides which broadly kill or poison many organisms in the environment, including us, Werren said in a statement .

Also, dont be surprised if other surprises turn up. Scientists have already documented that parasitic wasps have genes related to smallpox and other viruses, though they arent certain exactly what those genes do. A different Science study earlier in the year, though, said that some parasitic wasps may have gotten their poison from ancient viruses.

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Other links on the wasp genome...

Wasp genome holds targets
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20101801-20507.html

Voodoo wasps that could save the world
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/voodoo-wasps-...


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Man, I could read about this story all day long!
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necso Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. There exists in the world
a certain "promiscuity" with genetic material.

And while this includes microorganisms, it extends beyond them.

There's much to be learned.
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