Genetics revealed the secret of “immortality” Colorado beetles

Techno 8 February, 2018

2018-02-08 17:51

Genetics revealed the secret of “immortality” Colorado beetles
Experts from the United States for the first time have deciphered the DNA of Colorado beetles. They have identified some genes responsible for unusually rapid adaptation of insects to various climatic conditions.

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This is stated in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, reports Rus.Media.

“Interestingly, we failed to find significant differences in the structure of genes responsible for resistance insecticides between koloradskimi beetles and other insects. It seems that they have acquired this capacity not by the emergence of new properties or genome rearrangements. All this makes the mystery even more interesting to explore,” says Sean Showell from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The Colorado beetle is one of the first invasive insect species. They are spread throughout the United States and Canada in the late nineteenth century, and then “migrated” along with supplies of the American army of France at the end of the First world war, hence the beetle began its triumphant March through Europe, not once only in the UK, where he still rarely appears. By the end of 1940-ies, beetle reached the borders of the USSR.

The first attempts to destroy them with pesticides ended in failure – the bugs quickly adapt to poison. Pest control is complicated by the fact that they have no natural enemies outside the United States.

Shovel colleagues have taken the first step to understand the reason for this invulnerability insects. They decoded their DNA and compared the structure of their genome with other insects and harmless insects.

As noted geneticist, and his team were interested in two things: how the Colorado potato beetle could adapt to the harsh climate of the Nordic countries in a very short time and why he survives in contact with new types of insecticides.

On the first question, the answer I could get. It turned out that DNA of potato pests contains several dozens of genes responsible for the production of a very wide range of enzymes that can digest extremely diverse proteins and sugar. This, according to genetics, allows the beetle to be almost omnivorous, despite its narrow “specialization” on potato and other Solanaceae representatives.

On the other hand, Shull and his colleagues are unable to find the genes responsible for the invulnerability of Colorado beetles – those stretches of DNA that make the opposition insecticides, they have the same structure and dimensions as other insects. How scientists hope that further study of the genome will help them understand exactly how does this “superpower” of beetles.

However, geneticists were able to find the “Achilles ‘ heel” of insects: it turned out that their cells are widely used short RNA molecules to block the action of specific genes that can be used to create more efficient versions of the insecticides to which pests adapt not so fast as to DDT and other “killers” of the past.

As noted Shull, now his team is in the process of decoding the DNA of hundreds of Colorado beetles, and several of their relatives whose genomes as scientists hope, will help to uncover other secrets of these pests and finally solve the problem 150 years ago.