First pigment-making animal is an aphid!

How cool is this? A species of pea aphid appears to have picked up the genes for making carotenoids from fungi–making it the first known animal to manufacture their own. This adds to the evidence that DNA can transfer laterally from bacteria, yeast, or fungi to animals. The evolutionary story is just getting more and more interesting!

N.A. Moran and T. Jarvik, “Lateral transfer of genes from fungi underlies carotenoid production in aphids,” Science:328:624-7, 2010.

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2 Responses

  1. I was reading this post only today and about two years after it emerges that also the mite Tetranyhus urticae has the same genes.. exactly the same suggesting that it could be an ancient lateral gene transfer.

  2. […] occurrence in aphids for a lecture at the University of Parma (Italy), I found a post in the blog I love insects that linked to the famous paper published in 2010 by Nancy Moran reporting that aphids are the […]

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