Navigation Links
Too many relatives ruining your picnic? Be glad the flies don't invite their cousins
Date:4/18/2011

AMES, Iowa When your family members gather at a picnic in your backyard, there may be 10 to 20 people -- maybe more -- enjoying your barbecue.

When flies visit your party, be glad they don't bring their entire family.

Houseflies have more than 152,000 cousins. And those are just the ones we know about.

An Iowa State University researcher is one of a team of scientists who have recently researched the fly family tree -- one of the most complicated in the animal world.

"It really isn't a tree, it's sort of a bush," said Gregory Courtney, professor of entomology, explaining the complex relationships between fly relatives.

"Because of this, and because the history of flies extends more than 260 million years, it's difficult figuring out the relationships between this branch and that branch," he added.

The problem with tracking fly evolution is that every so often, a species of fly will branch into two different species, and then those two will split again, and again and so forth, he said.

If a series of these branches or dichotomous splits occurs over a brief period of time, the result will be a rapid radiation of new flies and an evolutionary tree that may look more like a bush.

Based on the research of Courtney and his colleagues, at least three episodes of rapid radiation have occurred in the history of flies.

"[The fly family tree] probably involves dichotomous splits," said Courtney. "But we can't always resolve these when there are lots of dichotomous splits going on at the same time."

"One of the nice results of this research was confirmation that a number of episodic radiations may have occurred. That explains some of the difficulty we've had in resolving relationships of different types of flies," he added.

One of Courtney's favorite flies is a group called mountain midges (Deuterophlebia), which the current study suggests is the oldest group of flies, and is positioned near the base of the fly family tree.

He is also an expert on the anatomy, or morphology, of different groups of flies.

That background made him a good choice to help the team decipher the relationships among flies.

"Morphology is just one piece of information that we use to try to figure out relationships," he said. "We looked at a whole suite of morphological characteristics about 400 characteristics for this analysis."

From its beginning, the fly family tree has been continuously evolving. Courtney says there are now more than 152,000 species of flies that have been described and named, and least that many more haven't yet been discovered and described.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gregory Courtney
gwcourt@iastate.edu
515-294-4017
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Seedlings thrive with distant relatives, seeds with close family
2. New research shows dolphin by-catch includes genetic relatives
3. New book reviews research on p53 -- the guardian of the genome -- and its relatives
4. Instant evolution in whiteflies: Just add bacteria
5. In fireflies, flightless females lose out on gifts from males
6. Could mutant flies give epilepsy sufferers greater peace of mind?
7. Wheat resistance genes failing, new approach needed to stop flies
8. Texas A&M study finds courtship affects gene expression in flies
9. Wildflower colors tell butterflies how to do their jobs
10. Orchid tricks hoverflies
11. Study finds monarch butterflies use medicinal plants to treat offspring for disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Too many relatives ruining your picnic? Be glad the flies don't invite their cousins
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, ... Hack the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters ... two-day competition will focus on developing health and wellness ... Hack the Genome is the first ... tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... March 28, 2017 The report ... (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by ... 2022. The base year considered for the study is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Husson University will be ... growing body of knowledge during its Eighth Annual Research and Scholarship Day ... Darling Atrium. During the event, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members from all ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Parallel6™ , the leader in mClinical™ ... that they were named one of the 2017 Top 10 eClinical Trial Management ... the pharmaceutical industry. , “We take pride in honoring Parallel6 as one of the ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... -- For today, Stock-Callers.com redirects investors, attention to ... clinical research aimed at treating diseases and medical conditions. Under ... Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX), Kite Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: KITE), and ZIOPHARM ... our complimentary research reports on these stocks now at: ... http://stock-callers.com/registration ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 18, 2017 , ... Optofluidics today announced ... comes after the company changed focus to making analytical tools for biopharmaceutical quality ... new technology,” says CEO Robert Hart. Founders Bernardo Cordovez, Robert Hart and David ...
Breaking Biology Technology: