Whiteflies Possess Some Plant DNA: Who Knew?


This Insect Has Plant DNA in Its Genome

by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com

A small, aphid-like insect called a whitefly has plant DNA lurking in its genome—and it’s among the first known instances of gene transfer from plant to insect, reports Heidi Ledford for Nature.

The gene in question is no slouch either, as it appears to enable the insects to feed on plants loaded with natural toxins, according to the new study published last week in the journal Cell. This fateful transference of genetic material occurred at least 35 million years ago and looks to be part of the genetic toolkit that make whiteflies such a formidable agricultural pest, reports Jonathan Lambert for Science News.

“Ten or 20 years ago no one thought that this kind of gene transfer was possible,” Roy Kirsch, a chemical ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology who wasn’t involved in the study, tells Science News. “There are so many barriers a gene must overcome to move from a plant to an insect, but this study clearly shows that it happened, and that the gene provides a benefit to whiteflies.”

Read More:

Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy