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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Stolen Fungus Gene Turned Aphids Red
29 April 2010 2:00 pm
You are what you eat—or, at least, you may turn the same color as the things you eat. Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp, and even humans can turn orange if we consume too many carrots or tomatoes. The agents responsible are pigments known as carotenoids, but scientists have now found that at least one animal doesn't need to eat them to change color. Instead, tiny insects called aphids picked up the genes needed to produce carotenoids from a fungus sometime during their evolutionary history. That makes aphids the first animal known to produce its own carotenoids, researchers report tomorrow in Science. The scientists remark that it is curious that other animals haven't acquired a means to produce carotenoids, given the many important functions they perform, such as strengthening the immune system.