Navigation Links
Ancient trans-Atlantic swarm brought locusts to the New World

Somewhere between three and five million years ago, a massive swarm of locusts took off from the west coast of Africa and made an unlikely voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to colonize the New World, says an international team of researchers.

Using genetic evidence from more than 20 species of locusts, scientists from the Universities of Toronto, Arizona, Maryland, Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have answered a long-standing conundrum: why are the closest relatives of the African desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) found in the New World, rather than Africa? The desert locust is one of the world's most economically important insects, and is capable of forming massive swarms that devastate crops.

DNA shows that ancestors of the desert locust flew across the Atlantic and gave rise to a diverse group of New World species. "If we were standing on the coast of Africa, we might have these swarms of locusts heading off across the Atlantic," says Nathan Lovejoy, an assistant professor of in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, who led the research along with Sean Mullen, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland.

How the locusts made the trans-Atlantic flight is unclear, since the insects don't have enough fat to power a trip lasting several days. "One unlikely hypothesis is that while the locusts were flying across, as their brethren died and landed in the ocean, they formed huge floating mats of dead locusts," says Lovejoy. "The other locusts would land on these mats, rest and feed on the dead bodies, then take off and keep flying." Another possibility is that among the millions of swarming locusts were a few exceptional insects that somehow managed to survive the flight. Lovejoy adds that high-altitude winds would have been essential for the swarm's flight. There is a modern-day example of this phenomenon -- in October 1998, a swarm of desert locusts crossed the Atlantic, travelling from Africa to the Caribbean.

Using muscle samples taken from the powerful hind legs of locusts, Lovejoy and his colleagues used mitochondrial DNA sequences to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the Schistocerca locusts. The team found that the desert locust lineage gave rise to the more than 50 Schistocerca species found in the western hemisphere.


'"/>

Source:University of Toronto


Related biology news :

1. Ancient olfaction protein is shared by many bugs, offering new pest control target
2. Ancient immune defense mechanism is no match for HIV-1
3. Ancient DNA helps clarify the origins of two extinct New World horse species
4. Researchers Discover Ancient Origins Of Tuberculosis-causing Bacteria
5. Ancient DNA confirms single origin of Malagasy primates
6. Ancient anthropoid origins discovered in Africa
7. Ancient humans brought bottle gourds to the Americas from Asia
8. Ancient DNA helps UF researchers unearth potential hemophilia therapy
9. Ancient DNA provides clues to the evolution of social behavior
10. Ancient ants arose 140-168 million years ago
11. Ancient fossil DNA found preserved in crystal
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Vigilant Solutions announces today that its license plate ... by Lee,s Summit Police Department to ... arrest of a homicide suspect. Kansas City ... 65 square miles and is home to roughly 100,000 residents. ... single mobile license plate reader system and also leverages Vigilant,s ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... PRAGUE, Czech Republic , February 8, 2016 ... first EU-regulated global payment platform which presents innovation ... Voice Biometrics Authentication feature called VoiceKey. --> ... payment platform which presents innovation for clients, comfort ... feature called VoiceKey. --> Worldcore ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 3, 2016 ... market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market by ... Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) ... MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The transformation and technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX ) ... December 31, 2015. --> --> ... net loss of $29.3 million, or $0.34 loss per share, compared ... share for the same period in 2014. For the year ended ... million, or $1.05 loss per share, as compared to a net ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... and GERMANTOWN, Maryland , ... Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced the introduction of ... gene expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio of Sample to ... researchers to select from over 20,000 human genes and ... between genes, cellular phenotypes and disease processes. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ATLANTA , Feb. 11, 2016  Spectra BioPharma ... Organization (CSO) that provides biopharma companies the experience, ... implement and deploy outsourced sales teams. Created in ... team addresses both the strategic and tactical needs ... innovative sales solutions through both personal and non-personal ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, ... ... business-to-business publication dedicated to delivering cutting-edge information focused on the development and ... Sciences to become a premier sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards ...
Breaking Biology Technology: