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Surprising symbiosis: Glassy-winged sharpshooter eats with friends

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For this particular insect-bacteria trio, genome-based reconstructions of metabolic activity suggest that the two resident bacteria are close neighbors, residing next door within host tissues and feeding each other chemical precursors needed to make nutrients. In the future, Eisen says, the bacteria will likely evolve into organelles of the insect, losing their distinction as bacteria altogether.

Looking ahead, Eisen is continuing to explore the genomes of other animal-bacterial symbioses to understand how such systems originate and work. "Symbiosis is a pervasive strategy in biological systems and we still do not understand the rules of how it works." "This is why this sharpshooter symbiosis is so important ?it has given us a good model system with two co-dependent bacteria rather than just one."


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Source:The Institute for Genomic Research


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