(ScienceDaily/Cell Press) Exposure to the widely used pesticide atrazine leads to heritable changes in the gut microbiome of wasps. Additionally, the altered microbiome confers atrazine resistance, which is inherited across successive generations not exposed to the pesticide. Even though these wasps are not natural crop pollinators, the study could have broad implications. Notably, bacterial atrazine-metabolizing genes are also present in wild bee populations exposed to the pesticide.
(ScienceDaily / University of California – Davis) Orchid bees are master perfumers, and research suggests that the perfumes males concoct are unique to their specific species. A new study now links the evolution of sexual signaling in orchid bees to a gene that’s been shaped by each species’ perfume preferences.
(Penn State) The newly reported genome sequence of a water lily sheds light on the early evolution of angiosperms. Water lilies have been important to scientists because of their position near the base of the evolutionary tree of all flowering plants. Scientists are interested in the water lily genome to help understand how traits like big showy colorful flowers and floral scents, both of which serve to attract pollinators, have evolved.
(McGill) Findings in a new report show that environmental changes caused by humans are leading to changes in genetic variation in thousands of species of birds, fish, insects, and mammals. The evidence for human impacts was most clear for insects and fish species.
(NewScientist) The hybridization can threaten the long-term survival of the native bees, says Ignasi Bartomeus at the Doñana Biological Station in Seville, Spain. “Diversity is the best insurance against [environmental] perturbations because it creates variability from which to adapt to new situations,” he says. “If we homogenize the genetic diversity of some species, we are losing this insurance.”
(ScienceDaily) Researchers sequenced the genomes of the two Varroa mite species that parasitize the honey bee. They found that each species of mite used its own distinct strategy to survive in its bee host, potentially overwhelming the bees’ defenses. In addition to pointing to how scientists might vanquish these deadly intruders, the findings also shed light on how parasites and hosts evolve in response to one another.
(Phys.org) Scientists have known for a long time that vertebrates handle positive and negative events differently, storing and retrieving those memories in their brains differently, as well. To find out if the same is true for invertebrates, they exposed honey bees to positive or negative events and then studied gene expression in a part of their brain known as the mushroom body.
(Penn State) “There is exceptional diversity in coloration of bumble bees.” But similar coloration in different species are not necessarily the result of similar gene expression.