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A Bug's Life...and Death

02 September 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970
 

Pest control may undergo major innovation following the discovery of the gene responsible for giving insects their waterproof coating, which protects them from microbes and environmental stress.

The international research team, led by Joanne Yew from the University of Hawaii, identified the ‘spidey’ gene (nicknamed after Spiderman) in vinegar flies. The team hopes that with further study they can bridge the gap to pest species.

“When we knocked out spidey in adult flies, the flies exhibited several striking features: their lifespan was shortened by about 50 per cent, they lost almost all of their waxy coating and flies frequently got stuck to the sides of the plastic vials and were unable to free themselves,” reported Yew.

Picture: Spiderman, Spiderman, will be doing more than a spider can if scientists have their way

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 02 September 2016

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