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Breaking the aphid's code
Date:2/23/2010

pensate for the evolutionary loss of genes by shuffling essential metabolic products between them. Gene loss between the two partners is so extensive that neither one can live without the other."

Pea aphids are small, with adult sizes ranging from 4-5 mm, and are green or pink in color. They have amazing plasticity. Whenever overcrowding occurs; an aphid colony will produce winged females that migrate to establish new colonies in other areas. Able to reproduce both sexually and asexually, aphid populations can increase in size at exponential rates: when asexual females are pregnant, their embryos are also pregnant, so females can carry both their daughters and granddaughters, a condition called telescoping of generations.

The sequencing of the pea aphid genome, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, resulted from a collaboration between a team at the Baylor College of Medicine led by Dr. Stephen Richards and the International Aphid Genomics Consortium, a diverse group of investigators who work together to advance understanding of the genome biology of the aphid. This study has engaged 200 scientists from 16 countries in advancing research on an insect of scientific, economic and agricultural importance. "Having a genome opens up our world. Anything is now possible," says Wilson. "The genome provides the foundation. Now the hard work begins."


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Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz
m.gumadiaz@umiami.edu
305-284-1601
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert  

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