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Pirate-like flies connect symbiosis to diversity
Date:2/5/2013

y. "They use the fungi as boats to float across a genomic sea and board a plant that is genetically far removed from what they would otherwise be able to feed on."

The fungus, which is a broad-feeding plant pathogen, allows the flies to feed on a greater variety of plants compared to their non-symbiotic brethren.

"Symbiotic lineages of these flies have undergone a more than seven-fold expansion in the range of plants they can feed on relative to the lineages without such fungal symbionts. Also, one genus of gall-inducing flies utilizing fungal symbionts is 50 per cent more diverse than its brethren without the symbiotic relationship."

Joy is as excited about discovering how symbiosis between flies and fungi advances evolutionary theories as he is about discovering the relationship itself.

"The goal of this work was to test predictions of evolutionary theories of diversification and symbiosis," explains Joy. "The theory I observed in action is that the evolution of symbiosis catalyzes niche expansion an organism's use of more resources and diversification increased species in lineages.

"These findings expand our understanding of how biological diversity is generated and how processes, such as symbiosis, lead to some remarkable examples of biology, such as the symbiotic mutualism between clownfish and sea anemone."


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Contact: Carol Thorbes
cthorbes@sfu.ca
778-782-3035
Simon Fraser University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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